How 9 upgrades from the tech world are changing lives in the real world.

Technology is always evolving to make tomorrow better than yesterday.

Businesses are able to run more smoothly, we can connect with people faster — even something as simple as ordering takeout has become, well, simpler.

But what we don't always see is the greater purpose the tech world's incredible advancements are serving. Technology can do great things to make the world a better place.


With it, education has become more accessible, social media has given a voice to the voiceless — even treating a patient halfway across the world has become possible.

Nonprofits have harnessed the power and potential of technology to create more good in the world as well. They are optimizing their operations, amplifying their voices, and expanding their critical programs and services to upgrade their communities and the world.

Here are nine awesome ways nonprofits are using technology to everyone's advantage.

1. Improving the health of mothers and newborns in India with do-it-all phones and real-time data.

Health care workers in Bihar, India, used to have to carry up to 38 backbreaking ledgers from home to home just to keep record of their patients' progress. But with help from CARE, the workers can now conduct checkups just by using an app on their phones.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

They can schedule visits and register and record real-time health information for mothers, pregnant women, and newborns, giving health care workers a quicker picture of what their patients' needs are and how they can improve their condition without missing a beat.

2. Mapping underwater habitats to create a more sustainable ocean ecosystem.

The Nature Conservancy's Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative is creating an exciting new way to study and map marine life.

Image via The Nature Conservancy, used with permission.

Researchers are creating detailed maps to better understand the value of ocean ecosystems and how they ultimately affect the livelihood of surrounding communities. The mapping provides people with more accurate information on how to maximize the ocean habitats and better sustain their ecosystems.

3. Breaking barriers and promoting inclusion for all of the world's athletes.

Special Olympics is stepping up their game by providing their athletes with tech to help them track performance, train smarter, and compete harder. On top of that, they can share their achievements online and connect with other athletes.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

In addition, they are using technology to bring athletes with and without disabilities together through Play Unified — a series of events across the country sponsored by Special Olympics. Through the beauty of sport, they're working — and playing — together to promote inclusion and combat the intolerance many individuals with disabilities face.

4. Building better school systems and improving childhood literacy in remote areas.

250 million children around the world lack basic reading and writing skills. Thankfully, Pencils of Promise has made it a mission to lower that number by building schools, providing quality educational programming, and supporting teachers in remote communities.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

Even better, they digitally track and measure the progress of each student, making it easier to see the effects of their lesson plans and adjust them to be more effective. Now with 363 schools around the world, Pencils of Promise continues to make progress toward its goal of providing access to quality education for all children.

5. Providing support groups for and connecting young people living with HIV.

The stigma surrounding HIV can be incredibly difficult to deal with for a young person. But Keep a Child Alive has found that technology can play a simple but extremely effective role in changing their outlook.

Image via Windows.

Using Skype, young people are able to share their experiences, challenges, hopes, and dreams with others just like them. Whether across town or across the African continent, they're creating a community of empowerment focused on fighting the impact of HIV on their families, friends, and communities.

6. Creating a global community of difference-makers and coordinating their efforts online.

Global Citizen's plan is straightforward: End extreme poverty, fight inequality, and fix climate change by 2030. Yes, it's bold, but they believe it can be done with the help of technology.

Image via Global Citizen/YouTube.

Global Citizen provides an online platform for people to connect with others, spread the message to world leaders, and fight for change. But they're also making it incredibly fun. Through gamification and the wildly successful Global Citizen Festival, doing great things has never been so engaging.

7. Creating more effective and meaningful connections between children and their sponsors.

Save the Children provides an early start to education for children living in poverty. And with technology's help, they can speed up the learning process significantly.

Image via Windows.

Connecting each sponsor with the children they're supporting is a key part of what keeps Save the Children's programs going, but it typically requires a lot of data transfer between offices that can take up to three weeks. With a more efficient online system in place, however, data can be accessed in real time, resulting in accelerated and improved interactions between sponsors and the children they're supporting.

8. Generating the largest educational event in the history of the world.

Code.org has a simple idea: Get kids to explore computer science with just an hour of code. It started out small but has since expanded to over 100 million students in 180 countries. Now anyone can organize their own Hour of Code around the world!

Image via Windows.

With an ever-evolving digital landscape, knowledge in computer science is extremely important for our future generations. No doubt, the world's largest educational event will only get bigger as the message continues to spread.

9. Giving a voice to young women around the world.

Malala Yousafzai has taken the world by storm with her relentless pursuit of education for girls around the world through her nonprofit, Malala Fund. Her organization has partnered with Nairobits, a Kenyan nonprofit that provides training in communications and technology to marginalized adolescent girls.

Image via Malin Fezehai/HUMAN for Malala Fund. Used with permission.

The program also provides job support and mentorship for these young women to improve their quality of life and assist their families in a way they never could before. As of 2015, they had 150 girls enrolled in the program, and that number has already doubled this year. Just imagine where they'll be in a decade!

All of these efforts are part of Microsoft's initiative to Upgrade Your World.

As part of the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft undertook a yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations doing great things to upgrade the world. They invested $10 million in 110 nonprofits and donated more than $10 million in technology to help them achieve more.

But it's not just these organizations that are benefiting — each year, Microsoft supports more than 100,000 nonprofits around the world with software and services to help them do more good.

In fact, your favorite nonprofit could qualify for a software donation from Microsoft, too. Visit microsoft.com/nonprofits for more details.

Without question, technology can be a powerful force that opens exciting opportunities for nonprofits. And if these organizations are any indication, we can't wait to see what the future holds.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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