The education market has been a place where very few have tread and even fewer have succeeded when it comes to mobile. Products like the Nabi tablet, a ruggedized kid-friendly tablet, have been rather successful in households with younger children; but in the classroom setting, very few schools have adopted tablets, touch screen computers, or technology past your basic desktop. Some wealthy districts in New York have distributed iPads, but very often on a class-by-class level and usually only in High Schools.
Today, Google announced an 'extension' to the Play Store dedicated to hosting Apps specifically for Education. It's aptly named Google Play for Education, and will be the location where Android tablets used in classrooms will be sent to download apps. Besides the basic value of having a dedicated App store for classroom tablets, teachers will have the ability to do bulk orders and purchases, as well as instantaneous downloads of videos, pictures and other materials. These materials will be downloaded to the tablets in the classroom immediately and become instantly accessible to the students. While this particular idea is quite revolutionary in theory, one has to consider: just how many schools actually have WiFi networks? Sounds like a job for Google Fiber to me.
This wouldn't be the first time Google has tried to push into the education market with their products. Google also pushes their own Chromebook and Chromebox line as a replacement to the classroom desktop, offering cloud-based solutions and easy administration access to districts. They offer extremely enticing deals to school districts and the adaptation rate is slowly growing. But since Google Play for Education doesn't actually offer discounts for schools to buy Nexus 7 or other tablets, one has to wonder how many schools will actually be taking Google's new offering up.
Personally, I remember in fifth grade when my classroom for Social Studies was the lucky one to have a class set of laptops that we could use Google Earth on - it was very exciting, even when half of them didn't work for one reason or another. In today's day and age, an interactive, small and personal tablet for each student to work on their own material on sounds like a fantastic concept to me, and Google Play Education is definitely a step in the right direction.
Would you like to see tablets in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below!