Dell Adds Educational Service to School Computers

Dell, which last year surpassed Apple Computer as the top dog in education
sales, Thursday struck an alliance with America Online Inc. under which it
will provide the free [email protected] service preloaded on all computers it sells
to K-12 schools in the U.S.

Dell made the announcement at the Florida Educational Technology Conference.
The deal makes Dell the first hardware vendor in the industry to provide the
service factory-installed for its customers.

“Our strategy is to leverage our expertise as Internet pioneers to help our
education customers take full advantage of the Internet,” said Bill
Rodrigues, Dell’s vice president for education and healthcare. [email protected] is
an easy, free way for schools to harness the power of the Internet, and we
believe it will be of great value to our education customers.

The [email protected] service is a free online learning tool designed to help
schools utilize the Internet. It allows — at school officials’
discretion — schools to provide students with e-mail and instant messaging,
and also features a series of age-appropriate learning portals and an
education-focused search engine. Additionally, the service features AOL’s
safety controls to protect students from inappropriate content and special
portals for teachers and administrators.

To give the software a more local feel, it includes a State Focus feature
which provides locally oriented information selected by state education
officials. The feature offers states live content windows in each of
[email protected]’s six learning portals, which can then be programmed to spotlight
information targeted for different age groups of students, as well as
teachers and administrators.

Dell will initially offer the service pre-installed on its OptiPlex GX100
desktops and Latitude C600 notebooks in February. The company said it will
be available on all OptiPlex and Latitude models by April.

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