Facebook announced a partnership Thursday with a nonprofit charter-school network to build educational software that will be offered to public schools at no charge, USA Today and The New York Times write. The Silicon Valley giant has dedicated a team to improve "personalized learning" software initially developed by Summit Public Schools, which operates charters on the West Coast.
The effort to build and widely distribute programs that help students learn at their own pace is being championed by Facebook's chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg, who has made education a cornerstone of his budding philanthropy, giving $100 million to the Newark, N.J., public-school system in 2010 and committing $120 million last year to districts in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Times says the initiative sits somewhere between philanthropy and business, with Facebook owning the rights to its contributions to Summit's software, potentially laying the foundation for a commercial enterprise. Facebook engineering director Mike Sego, who is running the project, said making money is not an immediate goal.