Microsoft, ePals team up on collaborative tools

DiScipio said he has heard from several ePals customers who say their students are writing much more often now that they’re using collaborative tools in their classes. “This is one of the truly amazing bi-products” of implementing a digital collaborative environment in education, he said.

The ePals Learning Space provides safe virtual workspaces for schools that include eMail, blogs, wikis, shared portfolios, media galleries, and language translation in 35 languages.

Live@edu is a free suite of online tools, based on the familiar Office applications many people use today, that give users access to information anytime, anywhere, from any desktop, laptop, major web browser, or mobile device. Live@edu is Microsoft’s answer to Google Apps for Education, and its partnership with ePals could give Microsoft a boost in its competition with Google for school users of web applications.

Integrating Live@edu into its platform will bring additional capabilities to ePals’ SchoolMail and other services, ePals says—such as a familiar Outlook interface on both mobile phones and computers, as well as dynamic distribution groups.

From an IT perspective, the solution will allow schools to set up sophisticated policy-based controls that regulate which students and teachers can eMail and share information with each other for security purposes, and what level of filtering and monitoring is desired for sent and received eMail.

Dennis Pierce

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