Obama, tech companies to get more devices into U.S. classrooms

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 4, 2014 4:30pm IST

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WASHINGTON Feb 4 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is set to announce on Tuesday that private companies have agreed to give more than $750 million in devices, software and wireless service to U.S. students, part of Obama's pledge to help modernize classrooms.

The corporate donations come as the Federal Communications Commission said it would spend $2 billion over two year to upgrade Internet speed and quality in schools and libraries.

Obama will speak about the effort at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland, where students use tablets for their lessons.

"What this really does is give us the potential to revolutionize how teaching and learning happen in the classroom," said Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, in a conference call with reporters.

Among the corporate pledges are free iPads for poor schools from Apple Inc, free software from Autodesk Inc , marked-down software from Microsoft Corp, and donations of wireless services from AT&T Inc, Sprint Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, the White House said.

There was no projection of how many students would benefit from the donations. "It's quite safe to say millions and millions of young people will be in some way impacted," said Gene Sperling, Obama's top economic advisor.

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