Teaching students anytime, anywhere: Google Play for Education and classroom-ready Android tablets come to Canada

Cross-posted at the Google for Education blog.

Every day students are learning in new ways, with technology and tools we could only dream of back when we were in school. But with more educational apps available than ever before, a busy teacher or admin can use some help choosing the right digital resources for their students. That’s why today, we’re launching Google Play for Education along with Android tablets to Canadian schools.

Built just for schools and educators, Google Play for Education is a “one-stop shop” for engaging, educator-approved and instantly shareable content for classrooms, offering access to thousands of curated, teacher-approved apps as well as hundreds of free classic books. Canadian schools will also be able to choose from five classroom-ready Android tablets that come with access to Google Play for Education for students of all ages.

Bill MacKenzie and a student from Upper Grand District School Board team up with Google Play for Education

The teachers of Ontario’s Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) were among the first in Canada to use Google Play for Education. UGDSB subscribes to the philosophy called universal design for learning, which aims to give each student an equal opportunity to succeed and empowers teachers to reduce barriers to learning in order to meet the individual learning needs of students. The district realized the potential for technology to enable students to access learning, express their ideas, and demonstrate their understanding in new ways.

Bill MacKenzie, IT Liaison for UGDSB, says that introducing the Android tablets to staff and students has been seamless: “Teachers noticed that the students felt comfortable using the devices and that it made the classroom more interactive. The technology and breadth of resources has accommodated the different learning styles of our students.”

Each tablet holds up to five student log-ins, so students have control and ownership over all the content in their own accounts. The tablets also come loaded with an additional selection of Google apps like Docs, Chrome, Gmail and Earth.

Google Play for Education has apps for both Android tablets and Chromebooks, for students in grades from K-12. In addition to a wide range of flexible digital tools, schools can find subject-specific apps ranging from English Language Arts and Mathematics to World Languages and Science. Teachers can browse content by grade, subject or educational goal, and read tips from other teachers to get new ideas for classroom activities. Once selected, teachers can purchase using a school PO, then instantly distribute apps to student devices.

According to Bill, the tablets have provided UGDSB students with new ways to enjoy learning: “Students love sharing their photos and documents in Google Drive across devices by bumping one device to another, what students call ‘high fiving.’”

Canadian schools already using managed Chromebooks can turn on Google Play for Education by visiting play.google.com/edu. To talk to an expert about setting up Android tablets and Google Play for Education for your school, visit the Google for Education website.