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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

More From Google on Classroom Potential

A recent post to the Official Google Blog spells out a bit more about how Google wants to integrate itself into the classroom workaday. From Writely and Google Spreadsheets to 3-D rendering to historical information and news, Google clearly aims to make itself *the* go-to resource for students and teachers. And hey, maybe that's not such a bad thing. After all, there are plenty of great tools and services available through the Mighty G, and while they're not the only game in town, they've done a pretty darn good job with the tools and services they've developed.

And according to analysts, Google has recently shifted focus, from a "build" mentality to an "integrate" mindset. This means that Google services will be increasingly seamless and mashups will make them easier to use and closer to the point of use.

Sure, there's Ask and Yahoo! and MSN for search, and Accuweather, and the websites of various libraries and museums, and there are other word processors and spreadsheet applications, other ways to get things done. But increasingly, Google is putting itself in the closest proximity to actual point-of-use. The breadth of services continues to grow, but their johnny-on-the-spot pervasiveness may be what gives Google the edge, as a one-stop shop for myriad mash-ups and tools and services that can enrich, engage, and enlighten. On the other hand, critics worry that making one vendor too central to the academic process can lead to dependence and narrow-mindedness.

Wherever you fall on the debate, there's no denying that there are lots of ways that Google can "play" in education. Whether or not they're accepted, and implemented, by teachers, remains to be seen.

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