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Technology in the Classroom: Google Play for Education

Jordan Catapano

Google Play is a distribution service for apps, games, movies, television shows, music, books, and all other kinds of digital products for Google devices.

It’s their equivalent to Apple’s App Store, or Amazon’s Prime libraries, and offers these millions of products either for free or at a cost. In addition to providing an incredible range of resources, they’ve gone ahead and sprouted another branch onto the tree: Google Play for Education, designed specifically to help teachers find the exact technology in the classroom resources they need.

It’s a narrowed-down set of tools that are more focused to suit your needs as a teacher, and will help tremendously in your search for the best technology in the classroom tools. There are three main features of Google Play for Education that can greatly help streamline your instruction. You can:

  • Instantly send apps directly to students. Instead of waiting for each student to install an app, or create a user registration for it, you can select an app and upload it to your students’ devices immediately. Even searching for apps is simplified, as Google Play for Education presents a set of apps curated and approved by your fellow teachers.
  • Share books with students. Just like you might select apps for your students, you can similarly select free or paid books that instantly allow your students access to them. This ensures that all your students have the right book and the right edition, without them having to spend any of their own money to get it. Books can be purchased outright, or even rented for a period of time.
  • Find and share helpful resources, especially YouTube videos, that are approved by fellow educators. Instead of sifting through the minefield of Internet content, you can ensure that what you’re finding has already been used and recommended by a teacher just like you.

Not only is finding and sharing resources with your students incredibly easy, acquiring and paying for those resources is a smooth, simplified process. You can purchase the tools you want and distribute them directly to your students—forget skipping a beat with some complicated payment method. Google allows for “standard institution payment mechanisms” that permit money to be quickly transferred from districts to developers, and the resources and apps to be swiftly distributed to a classroom or district.

Play is built to harmonize solely with Google’s own products, such as Chromebooks, Nexuses, and Android-based devices. Of course, it works best in your classroom if your school doesn’t block the service via firewall, and if you’re able to use these Android devices. If you don’t have them, then you still have limited ability to access all of Play’s features via an Internet browser.

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When it comes to Google Play for Education, its offerings are all-encompassing, and not strictly limited to their own products. Unlike Google Apps for Education, it instead offers a dynamic, efficient link for teachers to better access curated resources for their classrooms. Whether you’re looking at Science videos or browsing the latest classroom apps, Google Play for Education might be the best new online store to help you find the resources you need.

Have you used Google Play for Education? What have you found useful about it, or what makes you want to try it out?

Jordan Catapano is a high school English teacher in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and has experience as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website ACTWritingTips.com