The Times partners with Microsoft to help teach spelling

News International has teamed up with Microsoft to help educate young children in the UK by launching Mini Bees – a suite of online spelling games.

The games will run in association with the Times, in a deal brokered by Universal McCann London and will launch on Times Online today (26 January).

One is called Mini Bees, which aims to promote the use of spelling among younger children aged between five and 11. The games will run in conjunction with The Times Spelling Bee, the national competition that is run as a series of live events across the country, and is aimed at 11 and 12 year olds.

Each game is based on the functionality and features of Microsoft Office. On the Mini Bees site, fun and engaging teaching tools aimed at kids, both at home and school, will strive to enrich their vocabulary and provide an understanding and joy of words.

Further activity will also provide educational support for parents. Mini Bees will also be supported by an eight page editorial supplement in The Times, a mailer to all primary schools, and in‐paper communications across The Times and Sunday Times.

Microsoft was selected as the launch partner of The Times Mini Bees site based on the experience and insight it brings to the campaign. The computing giant already works in partnership with schools and students around the globe, to support teaching and expand the power of education for all through personalised learning.

Microsoft and The Times say they hope that the Spelling Bee and Mini Bees will promote a positive message and highlight the value of language.

Ray Fleming, Education Marketing Manager for Microsoft in the UK says: “Educational research worldwide regularly draws attention to the fact that ICT works to enthuse and motivate students, and we believe that this applies equally to both
core and emerging 21st Century skills, which help students to learn now, and to be prepared for the worlds of secondary and further education, and employment.”

Geraldine Leech, planning manager at UM London, adds: “We are really proud of this truly integrated campaign that offers our client Microsoft a unique opportunity to engage parents and facilitate in their children’s learning.”

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