Edtech Business

Google Tablet Goes To School

By Betsy Corcoran     Nov 13, 2013

Google Tablet Goes To School

IPads, Surfaces, Amplify tablets, Kindles--to the list of tabletsvying a spot in the classroom add today's newcomer: an Android tablet, theNexus 7, from Google. But what's likely to win over the hearts--and budgets--ofschools won't have much to do with the hardware. Instead Google is betting thatsoftware--and services--will rule. 

Today's debutante--Google's 7-inchAndroid-based tablet--will cost $229 apiece. There's also a $30 fee formanagement software. More devices are coming early next year, notably includingthe ASUS Transformer Pad (a 10-inch tablet) and the HP Slate Pro (an 8-inchtablet). (No word yet on the prices.)

But where Google hopes to turn heads is whathappens when those devices turn on.

An IT director who turns on the first in abatch of Nexus tablets will have to spend a couple of minutes to set up thedevice and, say, load in a class list from a spreadsheet, says Rick Borovoy, product manager for Google Playfor Education. But once that firstdevice is ready, provisioning any additional device requires no more than"bumping" a new device with the administrator's. Borovoy said thegoal was to enable someone to provision a class in under 10 minutes.

And that'sjust what happened, notes Joel Handler, IT Director from Hillsborough PublicSchools in New Jersey, a school that has been piloting the Nexus tablets sincelast March. "We would never have tried to deploy 3,000 tablets in the middleof the year--but we did," he says. "We just kept bumping themalong." (Hillsborough is a district of 7,400 students.)

Next difference: When teachers turn on theirNexus 7 tablets, they will be able to jump right into the freshly designed Google Play for Education store for the tablets. The store design caters to teachers.Software is neatly organized by areas (science, social studies, ELA and so on),by grade, by price and even by Common Core standards. Google is also payingeducators who are part of the CUE network to review some apps. It signals thosereviews with a yellow badge. So far, there are "thousands" of"edu-approved" apps, Borovoy says. (Like other online stores, Googleoffers developers a 30/70 revenue split.)  

Best twist: When teachers find an app thatthey want to use, a check-out screen gives them the option of using a school-designatedpurchase order, rather than, say, charging their own credit card and latertrying to get reimbursed. "Having the purchase order is key," saysHillsborough's Handler.

Handler says that Hillsborough'stransformation to digital curriculum began about three years ago when theschool started rolling out Chromebooks for students in grades 5 through 12.About 900 Chromebooks went home with students in the evenings last year; 22%wound up broken. "One big thing is how do we insure these devices,"Handler notes. Yet even though the school has not yet hit a 1:1Chromebook:student ratio for these older students, it has vaulted ahead inusing tablets with younger students. Every K-4 student in the Hillsboroughdistrict now uses a Google tablet, Handler says.

At the end of the day, however, Handler emphasizes the technology is starting to melt into the woodwork. Instead the school isfocusing on its three goals for using technology with students, namely helpingthem:  

  • Create, collate and publish digital content;
  • Engage in asynchronous learning; 
  • Explore the world outside the classroom. 

"It's all about putting learning intothe hands of students," Handler adds.


Edtech developers who want to explore howthey can get an app in the Google Play for Education store shouldcheck out these details or watch this video


Edtech Business

Google Tablet Goes To School

By Betsy Corcoran     Nov 13, 2013

Google Tablet Goes To School

IPads, Surfaces, Amplify tablets, Kindles--to the list of tabletsvying a spot in the classroom add today's newcomer: an Android tablet, theNexus 7, from Google. But what's likely to win over the hearts--and budgets--ofschools won't have much to do with the hardware. Instead Google is betting thatsoftware--and services--will rule. 

Today's debutante--Google's 7-inchAndroid-based tablet--will cost $229 apiece. There's also a $30 fee formanagement software. More devices are coming early next year, notably includingthe ASUS Transformer Pad (a 10-inch tablet) and the HP Slate Pro (an 8-inchtablet). (No word yet on the prices.)

But where Google hopes to turn heads is whathappens when those devices turn on.

An IT director who turns on the first in abatch of Nexus tablets will have to spend a couple of minutes to set up thedevice and, say, load in a class list from a spreadsheet, says Rick Borovoy, product manager for Google Playfor Education. But once that firstdevice is ready, provisioning any additional device requires no more than"bumping" a new device with the administrator's. Borovoy said thegoal was to enable someone to provision a class in under 10 minutes.

And that'sjust what happened, notes Joel Handler, IT Director from Hillsborough PublicSchools in New Jersey, a school that has been piloting the Nexus tablets sincelast March. "We would never have tried to deploy 3,000 tablets in the middleof the year--but we did," he says. "We just kept bumping themalong." (Hillsborough is a district of 7,400 students.)

Next difference: When teachers turn on theirNexus 7 tablets, they will be able to jump right into the freshly designed Google Play for Education store for the tablets. The store design caters to teachers.Software is neatly organized by areas (science, social studies, ELA and so on),by grade, by price and even by Common Core standards. Google is also payingeducators who are part of the CUE network to review some apps. It signals thosereviews with a yellow badge. So far, there are "thousands" of"edu-approved" apps, Borovoy says. (Like other online stores, Googleoffers developers a 30/70 revenue split.)  

Best twist: When teachers find an app thatthey want to use, a check-out screen gives them the option of using a school-designatedpurchase order, rather than, say, charging their own credit card and latertrying to get reimbursed. "Having the purchase order is key," saysHillsborough's Handler.

Handler says that Hillsborough'stransformation to digital curriculum began about three years ago when theschool started rolling out Chromebooks for students in grades 5 through 12.About 900 Chromebooks went home with students in the evenings last year; 22%wound up broken. "One big thing is how do we insure these devices,"Handler notes. Yet even though the school has not yet hit a 1:1Chromebook:student ratio for these older students, it has vaulted ahead inusing tablets with younger students. Every K-4 student in the Hillsboroughdistrict now uses a Google tablet, Handler says.

At the end of the day, however, Handler emphasizes the technology is starting to melt into the woodwork. Instead the school isfocusing on its three goals for using technology with students, namely helpingthem:  

  • Create, collate and publish digital content;
  • Engage in asynchronous learning; 
  • Explore the world outside the classroom. 

"It's all about putting learning intothe hands of students," Handler adds.


Edtech developers who want to explore howthey can get an app in the Google Play for Education store shouldcheck out these details or watch this video


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