Good news for the kids! Developers can now offer educational apps via the Play Store. Google has created an extension of the Play Store, called Google Play for Education, which is meant to house those apps developers have created for K-12 students.
Developers who have an app they feel is age appropriate can now tag it as educational, which will then be reviewed by an independent panel of educators. This panel will peruse the app, ultimately deciding which age level it meets and whether it adheres to strict guidelines for appropriateness and safety. Those apps deemed safe will not collect personally identifiable information about the student, or use any in-app data for non educational uses.
Developers are urged to create free apps, or paid apps which don’t have ads throughout. The use of in-app purchases is also frowned upon. While any monetization model is accepted, developers should keep in mind these apps may be purchased by schools for students, and in app purchases or ads could distract from the educational process. Currently, in app purchases are blocked by Play Store for Education, but guidelines for implementation are available, lending credence that they will be accepted at some point.
It’s a great idea, but we’re also wondering if it’s going to work out. The educational angle for Google has always been Chromebooks in the classroom, and we hope this doesn’t distract from that program. The Chrome Web Store already has an “Education” tab, and it could really use more apps.