CAN GOOGLE COME OUT TO PLAY?: That's right folks--it's a gaggle of Google products. Google's kicking off 2014 with a slew of announcements this week. And it's a diverse slew, touching on online resources, new tablet partners, and professional development.
First off, Google Play for Education (Google's store of content and tools for educators) is targeting the book market. Today, they announce the addition of thousands of K-12 books on their Play platform. Unlike other digital book platforms, these books (ranging from Houghton Mifflin textbooks to Random House prints) will operate on a rental model, as opposed to a purchase model. Rick Borovoy, Google Play Product Manager, explains:
"Prices per book will vary, with cheaper books ranging from $1-$2. Physical books are a really big investment. So, educators who want flexibility can rent our books for their students for a few months. At the end of the period, the book expires. You won't be bound to it."
Next up, Google's hardware line boasts a few new products. Samsung joins the Google Play tablet pack with their 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, designed exclusively for K-12 schools. Additionally, Toshiba announced that their new Chromebook will specifically target educators, complete with a 9-hour battery. And Lenovo follows suit with the new ThinkPad 11e Chromebook series, available as a 360-degree touchscreen Yoga or traditional laptop.
Lastly, Google makes a "play" in the world of professional development. On the new Google for Education Learning Center, teachers can search for Google's online courses, watch best practice videos, and learn about getting Google-certified. The development reflect Google's goal to avoid what Chromebook Product Manager Rajen Seth describes as "only focusing on devices and the entire stack."