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Summary:

Google is getting ready to compete with Apple in the education market in a bigger way with the launch of Google Play for Education, an Android app store for educators.

Google already reaches millions of students through its Apps for Education classroom tools but, at its annual developer conference Wednesday, the tech giant said it’s making an even bigger push with Android.

Starting this fall, it plans to offer teachers across the country an education-focused Android app store, called Google Play for Education, which has been in pilot testing with various schools.

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“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. “Google Play for Education was built from the ground up to meet the unique content needs of educators.”

Through the new store, teachers will be able to search for educator-recommended apps appropriate for their grades and subjects. And, as long as each student has their own Google account, teachers can deploy their app selections to the tablets for an entire class or grade from their own account.

Apple is also pushing aggressively in education — last year, it sold 4.5 million iPads to schools and reported one billion downloads for iTunes U. But Google is clearly getting ready to take on its Silicon Valley rival in the education market in a bigger way. Google’s existing school presence through its Apps for Education, which has more than 20 million users, could help the company in its latest effort, as could the seemingly teacher-friendly management features built into Google Play.

Ahead of the launch this fall, Google said it would start accepting app submissions from developers this summer.

  1. This is a great move, as Apple’s system is frustrating and complicated for teachers. The buying experience is also not good because there are so many bad apps saturating the market. If they can effectively make the apps high-quality and provide an intuitive interface for teachers, they could make serious inroads in the education market.

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  2. Monetizing is one point that affects the choice edtech producers make about the platform they will develop for.
    With an educational app planned and ready for programming, I am facing this very difficult choice. There are voices pointing towards the Android as the bigger market and certainly one that is going to grow a lot faster. However, it is considered a more difficult market when considering monetizing, and I am not even sure why.
    Apple is considered easier to monetize and with an established and growing presence in schools around the world.
    So Google Play for Education is a good idea, but Google should definitely give another thought to models of monetizing. We all want to change education – but we have to sustain through the process.
    My other observation is that I wouldn’t limit that Ed-Google-Play to teachers. There are many parents who are actively seeking apps to enhance and help their kids’ learning. This is one of the greatest things about re-modeling education nowadays: different methods and tools are now accessible to all.

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