Google has created a new section of its Google Play store where teachers can find innovative apps that can help them teach their students and ease their administrative responsibilities.
The new Google Play for Education section of the Play store was unveiled in a post by Shazia Makhdumi, the head of strategic education partnerships for the Google Play team, on the Android Developers Blog on Nov. 13.
The new store "is an extension of Google Play that's designed for schools, simplifying discovery of educational apps and enabling developers and content providers to reach K-12 educators in the U.S.," wrote Makhdumi. "It offers bulk purchasing with purchase orders and instant distribution of educational apps, videos and other educational content to students' Android tablets via the cloud. Google Play for Education helps your apps gain visibility with the right audiences, without having to knock on school doors."
For Android app developers, the Google Play for Education store is a ripe new area where specialized education apps can be positioned and targeted directly to teachers and administrators, wrote Makhdumi. "If you've built an Android app that would be awesome for schools—or even have an idea for one—now's the time to jump in. We'll put you one click away from getting purchased and installed by entire school districts."
Apps that are already being offered in the new store include Class Dojo, a classroom behavior modification app; Explain Everything, a screencasting and whiteboarding app for all kinds of classroom lessons; Nearpod, which helps teachers manage content on their student's devices; and Socrative, which offers educational games and class exercises.
Developers who already offer an educational Android app can use the Google Play Developer Console to mark their apps for inclusion in the specialized Google Play for Education, wrote Makhdumi. "Marking your app identifies it as suitable for the U.S. K-12 educational market and queues it for educator approval. These educators perform a first-pass qualification of apps, assigning the appropriate subject, grade, and common core standards metadata, while evaluating if the app meets the Google Play for Education criteria for classroom use."
The idea behind the special Play store section is that teachers can really use high-quality apps and need a convenient place to find and review them, according to the post.
That's where developers can come in to provide the tools that teachers are using more and more today, wrote Makhdumi. "Whether you already have an existing K-12 educational app or are looking to build one, take a look at our detailed requirements and guidelines—which we have compiled for you based on educator feedback—to ensure your app is appropriate for a K-12 environment."
Developers are also encouraged to be sure that their apps are optimized for both 7-inch and 10-inch Android tablets before they upload and publish them to the Google Play for Education store via the Developer Console, wrote Makhdumi. Developers will be contacted via email by Google with an evaluation of their proposed apps. More detailed information is available to developers on the Google Play for Education pages on the Android developer site.
Google is always providing new services and opportunities for Android developers. Earlier in November, Google launched an inexpensive language translation service to Android developers to help them get their apps translated so they can sell them in other countries. The new service is expected to cost about $75 for a small app to about $150 for a large app for each language translation. The App Translation Service was previewed in May at the Google I/O developer's conference and is being launched now to help Android developers find new markets for their apps.
In September, Google's Android project released a RenderScript Support Library and an updated Software Developers Kit (SDK) that will allow developers to expand its use outside of the core Android code. The new RenderScript Support Library and updated SDK tools allow developers to take advantage of RenderScript on platform versions all the way back to Android 2.2.