Though the Play for Education Program is to be completely grounded next month, those already using the program would still still be able to get support from the Google team in charge of the software. These support would last as long as the tablets using the programs are still functional. In theory, this means that current users can still enjoy all the benefits of the program for as long as possible. But, as from the 14th of next month, selling the licenses for new users would stop.
So teachers who are already on the platform will continue to have access to Play for Education if they need to search and send relevant contents to their students.
When Play for Education launched in 2013 as a form of Google Play for pre-high school stdents, it had lofty dreams of bringing all those involved in educating kids closer together through the platform. The mission statement stated that Play for Education is,
”….an extension of Google Play that’s designed for schools, simplifying discovery of educational apps and enabling developers and content providers to reach K-12 educators in the U.S. It offers bulk purchasing with purchase orders and instant distribution of educational apps, videos and other educational content to students’ Android tablets via the cloud. Google Play for Education helps your apps gain visibility with the right audiences, without having to knock on school doors.”
It is rather unfortunate that such lofty plans for kids has to die in favour of corporate finances. But Google is not telling the world that money or the pursuit of more money is the reason the program is to be rested. Instead, a Google spokesperson told techcrunch that,
“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. We’ll continue to support our Google Play for Education customers and the devices that they have purchased.”
The believe is that Google made this move to focus more on the Chrome book. The Chromebook is the Android device closely associated with the Play for Education program. Students and teachers bought the device because it was cheaper and easier to use in the classroom. Invariably, Play for Education was mostly accessed through Chromebook. For now, Chromebook dominates the educational technology space and Google does not want to lose the leadership position it took away from Apple and Microsoft devices. And this achievement was recorded just 3 years after the introduction of the Chromebook.
While it is understandable that Google would pursue its financial interest aggressively, there won’t be any harm if a viable alternative was created to replace the Play for Education program.