Google launches classroom project

Search giant launches resource guide for K-12 teachers on how to use its applications in the classroom.

Weeks into the new school year, Google has started courting K-12 teachers with a resource guide on how to use its applications in the classroom.

Late Wednesday, the search giant launched the site Google for Educators. The site includes how-to video tutorials for products like Blogger; lesson plans for applications like Google Earth; and links to a training academy for those who want to become a "Google certified teacher," a pilot program for teachers to learn about technology.

"We think of this site as a platform of teaching resources--for everything from blogging and collaborative writing to geographical search tools and 3D modeling software--and we want you to fill it in with your great ideas," according to Google's site.

With the educators' site, Google continues a run on diversifying its business. Earlier this week, the company announced a $1.65 billion acquisition of video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Google's education push competes with similar efforts by rivals including Microsoft and Yahoo. Microsoft, for example, shepherded the opening this fall of Philadelphia's School of the Future--a school that boasts a centralized high-tech network for learning and administration.

Google's resource site includes a teacher newsletter that offers tips and features on using technology. It also has links to how-to guides for 12 Google applications, including Web search, Book search, Google Maps, Google Video, Picasa photo-sharing and Google Docs, a free word-processing service. Finally, the Google site showcases examples of how other teachers are using the programs in partnership with education research agency WestEd and blog site Infinite Thinking Machine.

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