Education these days isn’t just about reading, writing and arithmetic — it’s also about learning how to learn. And Microsoft wants to be the go-to option for teaching these abilities. It’s buying Flipgrid, the creator of an educational platform that fosters social-emotional skills like communication and bouncing back from failure. The tech giant hasn’t said if or how it will integrate Flipgrid with the rest of its lineup, but it’s starting by making the platform free to schools (they can get prorated refunds if they’ve subscribed).
Microsoft has promised that Flipgrid’s offerings will still work with other “partner ecosystems,” so Google-centric classrooms won’t suddenly lose a portion of their curriculum.
The move makes sense given Microsoft’s changing role in schools. The company has lost ground to Google in education on a number of fronts, including PCs (Chromebooks are increasingly common) and cloud services. While Microsoft is directly challenging Google with new PCs and tools, Flipgrid gives it a foothold in an area where Google doesn’t really compete, regardless of the devices and software the students use.