At Google I/O, the new Google Play for Education initiative was announced. At the time, details were sparse, but it was clear that Google was keen on getting tablets into the classroom, just as they were doing with Chromebooks. The program is now live, allowing Developers to mark their app for inclusion, and soon hitting classrooms everywhere.
The program is really quite simple for Developers: mark your app for inclusion into the program from the developers console, and after Google has reviewed it, they tag it with the appropriate tags. Age or grade specific apps can be noted as such by the Developer, but Google has the final word. The guidelines for what Google is deeming age or grade appropriate are available on the Google Play for Education page of the Android Developers site.
With the program comes Google’s dedication to getting hardware into the classroom just as easily. Teachers and school officials will now be able to order the Nexus 7, HP Slate Pro or ASUS Transformer Pad at an “affordable price”. The tablet will come pre-loaded with apps from Google Play for Education, as well as services such as Gmail, Drive, or Maps. Educators will also have access to the Admin console to properly manage all their devices.
While still far behind the iPad in regard to involvement in the classroom, this is an interesting step forward for Google. We’ll be interested to see just how Developers embrace the program, and how it differs from the competition. More importantly, we are anxious to see how schools use and thrive with more technology in the classroom.