Oregon educators hope a free suite of web-based software applications will help students become digitally literate while saving money for their struggling school districts, reports the Associated Press. The Oregon Department of Education began offering Google Apps for Education to public school districts on April 28, and officials predict a statewide savings of $1.5 million yearly for eMail, as well as additional savings for software and hardware upgrades that won’t be needed anymore. The ad-free service is being used by some individual districts around the country, but Oregon is the first to provide it statewide. The service includes filtered eMail, online documents, web site creation, streaming media, and other applications. It lets users collaborate in real time through “cloud computing,” using online software and Google’s servers for data storage and management. Officials expect about half of Oregon’s nearly 200 school districts, which serve almost 545,000 students, will be on the system within a year…

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