Microsoft and Google are giving technology to schools and colleges in hopes of winning students’ minds, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
With the recession taking a bite out of university endowments and public school budgets alike, the competition between Google and Microsoft to convert the nation’s colleges, universities and schools to the companies’ free e-mail and other IT services that run on the Internet “cloud” — outsourcing that can save a large university hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — has only grown more fierce.
. . . Just a year ago, (Jay) Martino’s sixth-graders would have generated reams of paper as they researched mummies, Cleopatra and King Tut. This fall, the students’ work exists on the “cloud” — bits of data flowing across Google’s network, accessible from any computer with a Web browser and a password.
Microsoft also provides cloud-based educational software, Live@edu, to schools for free.
“The benefit to Microsoft is that students are able to get familiar with Microsoft technology and be more ready for the work force,” said Anna Kinney, director of Live@edu. “Students graduate from college and go into the work force, ready on Day One to work on Microsoft products.”
In light of this post, note that Microsoft has joined the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, while Google has held back.
Update: The Daily Riff is concerned about conflicts between Bill Gates’ education philanthropy, which has made him very influential in policy debates, and his role as chairman of Microsoft.