Microsoft is one of the companies that has a corporate entity like Jekyll and Hyde; one time they are putting it to the public, and making the average user pay for something that should be free, then the turnaround is some magnanimous gesture that makes a scratch of the head necessary, as the benefits to many are made clear.
Today is one of those better, scratch-of-the-head times, as Microsoft, a traditional supporter of education, adds another site and ways to help those trying to learn.
Microsoft today announced a new Bing-powered education emporium called Redu. The goal, says Microsoft, is to give students, parents, teachers, and people in general a place to discuss current events and take action where they see fit.
“These aren’t problems that can be solved in one administrative term or election cycle, and it’s overwhelming for one corporation, political party, or community organization to think about alone,” says Cameraon Evans, Microsoft’s U.S. Education chief technology officer, in regards to educational issues like lack of school funding and academic performance. “The focus of Redu is to take these voices and put them together to bring about change.”
If the forums of Redu can bring together opposing voices from political parties, to make for change instead of gridlock, that alone will be worth the cost of the effort.
Redu, or REDU if you want to spell it with all caps like Microsoft does, includes tools and resources to help ambitious would-be changers of the world who haven’t yet been jaded. Things like setting up donations for local classroom projects to researching how to become a teacher in a particular state are all part of the Redu experience, explains Adam Sohn, a senior director of online services at Microsoft.
“There’s a lot going on but there isn’t one place where people can come and participate in a discussion,” Sohn says. “Redu is a good way for us to help people participate in one of the most important conversations that will happen in America over the next decade.”
While I look at the state of education and hang my head, I am appreciative of the effort of Microsoft here. Any effort by anyone to improve education is a good thing, and as all indicators would show, the nation needs to educate the people much better than it has in the recent past.
Here’s to a long and productive life for Redu, and congratulations to Microsoft for knowing where to spend some of those gargantuan Windows 7 dollars.
With better education in the nation, signs like this one will no longer be necessary…
Download Opera – A faster and more secure Web browser.