Apple’s app store and its thousands of iOS education apps have long dominated the K-12 education market, but this may not be the case for long. Today at the sixth annual Google I/O event, the company announced their Google Play for Education, an app store designed for teachers, to launch in the fall just in time for back to school season. Developers can submit apps for the store this summer.
The store will be filled with apps created specifically for student use and teacher management. Teachers will be able to search for apps specific to their grade level and subject, and then review them for fellow educators’ reference.
One interesting aspect of Google Play for Education is that it requires students who use it to have a Google account. In this way, teachers and administrators can create students groups and and push out apps, books, and even YouTube videos to the classroom or even entire school they preside over, so every student has access to the given material teachers or administrators send. The downside of this is that these Google apps will only work on Android tablets, so schools will have to purchase tablets for classrooms or their entire student body in order for them to use the apps. However, Android devices tend to run cheaper than Apple devices, so this could prove to be a more budget-friendly option for many schools.
Google has already made quite an impact on education with their affordable Chromebooks, so it will be interesting to see the effect the new app store will have both on the market and in the classroom. We’ll be keeping an eye on Google Play for Education and reporting back as more details around the new app store are released this summer.