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Bill Gates pitches in for online education resource Graphite

The Microsoft chairman and longtime donor to educational causes partners with Common Sense Media to launch a Web site that offers free apps, games, and curricula to teachers.

Graphite is a new online resource launched by Bill Gates and Common Sense Media.
Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is putting his money where his mouth is. He is backing a new initiative called Graphite that is a free online resource to help teachers discover and share education technology.

Gates has long emphasized his belief that investing in education and digital tools could help solve the world's education crisis.

"What's surprising is given how the Internet has changed how we buy airline tickets and books and how we look up things, is that formal education hasn't changed hardly at all," Gates said in an interview with CNET in 2010. "The technology sector deserves its blame -- it could be doing more here. But now is the time."

Graphite is a partnership between Gates and the education nonprofit Common Sense Media. The idea is to provide educators with free online resources -- which have already been tested, evaluated, and reviewed -- to better teach their K-12 classrooms. The resources available on the Web site include apps, games, links to other sites, and digital curricula.

"Graphite will make it easier for educators to find the tools they want and empower them do their best work," Gates said in a statement. "It's a great example of how we can support teachers who want to incorporate education technology in their classroom to help every student excel."

This is far from the first educational endeavor that Gates has backed. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to education grants, education-focused startups, and various teaching programs around the world. Gates has also partnered with Facebook in hosting education-themed hackathons; and, he has launched a $2.5 million investment fund called the College Knowledge Challenge, which is dedicated to getting developers to build apps for students.