Back in 2013, Google launched Play for Education, a program that made it easier for educators to purchase apps and books and distribute them to their students’ Android tablets. Now, this program is coming to an end. As first reported by CRN and also confirmed by us today, Google will stop selling Play for Education licenses on March 14.
From what we understand, Google will continue to support existing Play for Education users until the end-of-life date of their tablets and teachers will continue to have access to Play for Education to find content and push it out to their students.
“As of March 14 or later, Google will no longer sell Google Play for Education licenses. We’re committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks, which are the #1 selling device in US K-12 education, and a strong and growing ecosystem of educational apps,” a Google spokesperson told us. “We’ll continue to support our Google Play for Education customers and the devices that they have purchased.”
While Google is discontinuing Play for Education, teachers and administrators can still use Google’s and its partners’ other device management services to push educational apps from the Play Store to tablets, as well. Unlike Google’s Play for Education program, which only supported a small number of tablets, these management solutions also support virtually all Android tablets on the market.
It’s also important to remember that Google’s Chromebooks — including those with touchscreens — have made strong inroads into the educational markets. Android tablets, on the other hand, haven’t been quite the same hit with administrators and teachers. For the most part, Chromebooks are also cheaper and their keyboards probably make them a better fit in the classroom anyway.