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States Bring Purpose-Driven Social Networking Tools to Schools

March 11, 2010View for printing

Michigan's forthcoming Web-based platform that will help students and their families make college and career connections might initially sound like another Facebook knockoff.

But the state, which purchased the portal for $1.15 million, insists that the Michigan College Access Portal (MiCAP) is not a clone of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other popular social media sites. In fact, ConnectEDU, the Boston-based company building the portal, refuses to even call it a social network.

"It's a purpose network," said ConnectEDU President and CEO Craig Powell. "We leverage concepts of social networking, but for a defined purpose of education and career transitioning. This could not be replicated in a Facebook environment. It's tough to explain without seeing it."

By integrating social networking strategies with personalized, secure data -- such as transcripts and test scores -- education portals give students more control of their futures, proponents say.

By Russell Nichols, Staff Writer

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