Google's education initiative gives it away to schools

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Why buy the office when you can get the desktop for free? Sounds like a good lesson for all ages, and that’s how Google’s approaching the situation. By trying to convert teachers to use the Google Pack (A free collection of essential software) they “just want to help teachers engage kids with technology that makes learning seem less like drudgery.” While it doesn’t help those who don’t have internet access in the first place (and is WinXP centric) it does mean, for example, that a library could share a single computer with all its users without the resource consumption associated with giving everyone their own account. (Why yes, this has triggered privacy concerns; tradeoffs for everybody!) Unlike Apple’s computers or Microsoft’s programs, Google’s software is free — an enticement that gives it a built-in advantage, especially in schools hard-pressed to buy enough computers, let alone software licenses, to accommodate students. “There is such a big digital divide out there that products like this really help level the playing field for these kids,” said Lucy Gray, who teaches sixth graders at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. [GT]

Google enrolls teachers to spread work online software crusade

Gabrielle Taylor