Fast Company

GETTING SCHOOLED

How Google is beating Apple and Microsoft in the battle for America’s classrooms

A Mozart duo echoes through the dim auditorium of Philadelphia’s String Theory high school, performed by a pair of plaid-skirted violinists reading music off their school-issued iPads. In other classes at the performing-arts-themed public charter school, students use their iPads to plot DNA data, design graphics, and make movies. At first glance, the school is a model Apple education customer, buying into both its hardware and iOS ecosystem.

A more complicated reality lies beneath the tablet glass. Teachers at String Theory distribute curriculum via Apple’s iTunes U—but students use Google Docs and Google Drive to complete and submit assignments. “They get the full App Store experience, and they can also use all the functionality of Google,” says Christine DiPaulo, the school’s director of innovation. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

Apple may not share that perspective. Since the Apple IIe desktop computer found a home in California schools in the

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