Microsoft has announced that it will offer its Microsoft Office 365 service to more than 200,000 Catholic schools all over the world, providing over 4.5 million subscriptions. This great initiative comes as a result of the partnership between the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) and Redmond's software giant.
The first wave of the Office 365 deployment will take place this summer and encourages educators and students to work together on class projects and documents, to assist and collaborate in real time with virtual meetings, but also to participate in instant messaging and video conferencing across the globe.
Microsoft has also designed a special "Social Network of Catholic Education," based on Windows Azure, as an important aspect of the Partners in Learning Network.
Microsoft said the deal will also cover "curriculum and training to develop digital literacy skills, help integrate technology into teaching and learning, and provide blueprints for innovative schooling".
Whilst for now it's a three year deal, it's very likely that Microsoft will offer subscriptions to cover even more students after this period.
In its latest statement, Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education at Microsoft, said: "We need to continue to get creative about the ways technology can make a real impact in the lives of students and prepare them for the jobs of the future."