Geoff ElwoodGeoff Elwood: Google partnerWhy would any school now pay substantial costs for a school email service if they could get a better one free from either Google or Microsoft - for school and for anytime, anywhere learning - with up to 10 gigabytes of storage space?

At the BETT 2009 educational technology show in London the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) launched a free email service for 1 million schoolchildren courtesy of Microsoft’s Live@Edu collaboration suite of online services developed specifically for education. And leading learning platform supplier Studywiz announced a global partnership with Google to integrate free Googlemail into its learning platform (three local authorities are ready to sign up to the service).

China video-conferenceLambeth Academy pupil Zoe Yibowei (left) works with teacher Hongwe in a Promethean interactive classroom demonstration. London and Chinese pupils studied languages together online in a live link-up between Lambeth Academy and Houhai school, Shenzhen.

They were learning the names of shapes in both English and Mandarin in a whiteboard video-conference organised by Promethean as part of a demonstration of UK interactive technology. It marked the visit to China by John Hutton, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform. Part of his itinerary was a visit to Houhai school.

Watch video

BBC Jam screenThe BBC Trust consultation on the release of indigenous language content (Welsh, Irish and Gaelic) from the axed BBC Jam online service closed last week. In the absence of any major objection, it's possible that the content could go live on sites by spring 2009. However, the BBC remains silent about the release of any other materials, or a strategy to get them to learners.

Paul Birch and Richard TaylorAd executives and marketing mavens should take a look the recent success of entrepreneurs Paul Birch (co-founder of Bebo, pictured left) and education consultant Richard Taylor (creator of The Assignment Report, pictured right) in setting up and selling their successful Tutpup maths and English games website - and shudder.

Tutpup, a beta (pre-release) product which has just been sold for an undisclosed sum to Mind Candy, gained 250,000 young users worldwide, including 50,000 in the UK within about three months. These learners competed anonymously with one another online, mainly in maths activities, and all this was achieved without a single advertisement or a marketing budget. Word spread online through blogs.