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Microsoft uses IT to tackle global issues

CAPETOWN, Nov 3- Microsoft has launched a strategic partnership called SHOUT which uses Information Technology and research to link young children in schools from around the world to address global issues.

The SHOUT campaign involves Microsoft, Taking IT Global and US research body Smithsonian Institute to monitor the growth of trees in their respective areas, use findings to learn about climatic situations in the other parts of the world and take appropriate action.

Microsoft VP for education Anthony Salcito says: "This partnership is a fantastic way to build connections between teachers and students around the world, and address some of the most critical environmental issues of our time."

"Technology is an amazing tool to reach beyond geographic and cultural boundaries and build meaningful, collaborative partnerships… I am excited to see the SHOUT program expand these opportunities to teachers throughout the world."

The campaign was announced at a gathering of more than 500 teachers and academicians at the sixth annual Worldwide Innovative Education Forum, in Cape Town South Africa.

Co-founder of Taking IT Global Michael Furdyk says the children and teachers can use this programme to be a part of turning round global warming,

The program entails students, mainly from the environmental club, regularly measuring the width of a tree, jotting down this data and sharing it on Taking IT Global, which is an online social platform, with other children around the world.

"Our mission is to use online technology to engage young people to solve social problems around the world. Our tagline is to inspire, inform and involve and we feel this is what the children will be learning from this exercise."

"The schools are randomly picked based on applications made to the website,, and scientists from the Smithsonian institute actually use this data for their research, Furdyk adds.

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Though interconnectivity remains a challenge in the continent, Microsoft feels that governments are willing to improve infrastructure that will support these endeavours.

"We have memoranda of understanding with about 18 governments in Sub Saharan Africa and we believe this will in the long run contribute to growing this initiative. We will continue engaging our partners on equipping teachers and students to carry out this task."

James Bernard, Worldwide Director of Microsoft\’s Partners in Learning initiative also said that children can participate in the SHOUT programme via their cell-phones, which he says is one of the major ways children, especially in Africa, access the internet.

"What is really exciting about this is that the children are involved in the entire process. They identify the issues around them and try to solve them. Climate change is only the first topic. There are many more that will be tackled in due course.

Hout Bay High and St Cyprian\’s Girls Secondary School in South Africa were chosen for the pilot programme of SHOUT.

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