Mobile Computing | News
Google To Launch Curated Android App Store for Education This Fall
Google is taking a new approach to distributing mobile apps in schools. This fall, it will launch Google Play for Education, an Android app store for K-12 schools that will allow teachers to manage apps on their students tablets.
The tech giant already has an Apps for Education program with 25 million users at schools, colleges, and universities, which provides free access to Gmail; Google Docs; Google Calendar; Google Drive; and shared workspaces for students, clubs and organizations, and faculty, but it is looking to make an even bigger push into the education market.
Google has partnered with schools to test Google Play for Education, including six New Jersey elementary schools that used 550 third-party apps in the pilot program.
Google Play for Education will require all students to have a Google account, and school districts will be able to purchase Android apps using purchase order accounts on file. It will let a teacher choose an Android app and instantly install it on all tablets in his or her classroom or grade by group name using Google Groups. The store will be searchable by grade level and subject, and teachers will be able to write app reviews and see reviews from other teachers. All apps have been recommended by educators. Google Play for Education will also allow for distribution of e-books and YouTube educational videos.
"There's a big part of all of our lives — and the lives of our kids — that mobile technology hasn't touched. When I visit my kids' classroom, it looks pretty much like it did when I went to school," said Chris Yerga, an engineering director at Google at the conference. "Google Play for Education was built from the ground up to meet the unique content needs of educators."
Developers can begin to submit apps for the Google Play for Education store this summer, and they can go to developer.android.com/edu to read guidelines.
Google is also ramping up efforts to get Chromebooks into schools. Last year, more than 1,000 U.S. schools deployed Chromebooks. So far this year, 2,000 more schools are using Chromebooks in the United States. In addition, 10 million students in primary and secondary schools in Malaysia are using Google Apps and Chromebooks.
School districts interested in being notified when Google Play for Education is available should fill out the form at google.com/edu/android.
Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @editortim.