Bringing Google Apps to Oregon schools is the company’s latest inroad into education. Google has 121 student ambassadors on 69 higher-education campuses nationwide after sifting through thousands of applications and awarding the company’s first ambassadorships to students last year.
The Google student representatives are not paid, but they are rewarded with free water bottles and T-shirts, said Miriam Schneider, a product marketing manager for Google. Google delivers online tutorials to its ambassadors, showing what features they should pitch to students in on-campus meetings.
The company has also launched a Twitter page, a blog, a Facebook page, and a YouTube channel all dedicated to communicating with students. The company uses the blog to push applications that can be useful in the lecture hall and during late-night library study sessions.
Google’s deal with Oregon comes about a week after Microsoft announced a partnership with ePals, which is used by some 600,000 educators in 200 countries. Under that deal, ePals this fall will add Microsoft’s Live@edu eMail and calendaring software to its safe platform for teachers and students to communicate and collaborate online, and next year ePals users will have access to web-based versions of popular Microsoft Office tools as well. Google and Microsoft are chief rivals in offering free, web-based productivity tools to schools.
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