Shear, L., Means, B., Gorges, T., Toyama, Y., Gallagher, L., Estrella, G., & Lundh, P. (2009). The Microsoft Innovative Schools Program year 1 evaluation report. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.
Through its Innovative Schools Program, Microsoft seeks to promote innovative teaching and learning,
with the goal of providing models of effective instruction that help students build the necessary skills
for success in the 21st century. From 2007 to 2009, 12 pilot Innovative Schools in 12 countries have
been working together with a local Microsoft partner and the worldwide community of Innovative
Schools to design and implement new and locally relevant approaches to education.
Specific goals for teaching and learning vary across the schools, but they typically include elements
such as learning activities that encourage students to construct knowledge and solve real problems,
opportunities for students to collaborate with their peers and experts, and innovative uses of
technology in the classroom. Toward these ends, the Innovative Schools Program provides models and
resources for school change, training and expertise (in the form of virtual and face-to-face meetings,
an international team of mentors, and local staff from Microsoft), and a forum for global community
among the schools.
The program is being evaluated by an international research team coordinated by SRI International.
The evaluation provides a global picture of the program’s progress and outcomes as well as formative
feedback relevant to each school. The Year 1 Evaluation Report is the second in a series of annual
reports. It describes the schools’ progress and challenges in their first full year of participation in the
Innovative Schools Program.
The Year 1 Evaluation Report uses several types of data collected by evaluators in 11 countries.1
Evaluators visited the schools in early 2008 and conducted a series of interviews, focus groups, and
classroom observations. They also collected and analyzed samples of the assignments that teachers
gave and the work that students did in response, a method used to characterize the teaching and
learning that is taking place in the classroom.
This report presents findings in three areas: change processes and culture at the whole-school level,
school-level strategies for creating improved learning environments, and early progress toward planned
changes in teaching and learning within classrooms.