This year’s ISTE conference has been a very different experience for me. It is the first time I’ve attended without having a presentation obligation. I’ve really enjoyed having power over my own schedule and I’ve noticed some things that I believe may be unique to this year.
One of the things I’ve noticed is an increased presence from Microsoft. Beginning on Saturday when they started handing out free Surface RT tablets, continuing when Bing made the announcement about Bing for Schools, then surprising me when Bill Gates himself tweeted using the ISTE13 hashtag. I know he was tweeting for the foundation, but Microsoft still comes to mind when one sees that name.
I had a bit of a Twitter conversation with Mark Wallaert, who is a behavioral scientist working for Bing, and it really got me thinking about how Google is embedded in education and Microsoft is sort of skirting around the outside of it.
Google has been working its way into classrooms for years. There are thousands of teachers who have adopted the free and easy-to-use Google docs in their classroom, districts have adopted the free Google Apps for Education, and ISTE has been full of sessions about how to maximize the use of free Google products. All of this seems very nice of Google, but the company has actually earned millions of dollars from the advertising that appears in searches at schools across the country, so don’t feel sorry for them.
I have always been a Microsoft user who also loves Google. Because of pricing, I choose to use the PC platform and my first smart phone, by choice was Windows based. I’m an Android user now, but that would be a topic for another blog post. I have spent the bulk of my adult life in the corporate world, not the education world. In that universe, Microsoft is king. In the education world, it is not.
Will Microsoft take a bite out of the education market with the roll out of the new Bing for schools project? Time will tell. It is just interesting to me that Microsoft is making the move for the education community – I will be standing on the sidelines with my Surface tablet, iPad mini, Android phone, and PC laptop, ready for the ride!
Tell me what you think . . .