Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Google for Education: Kicking off 2014 with More Solutions Made for Learning



In 2013 there was a tremendous amount of innovation in education — from new tools to increased access to more content. Throughout the year we had the opportunity to get to know more and more schools that decided to Go Google. To look back on the year, we compiled a few stories that people shared with us. You can find more stories in our refreshed website for schools.

One thing we’ve heard loud and clear from educators and students across the globe was that they want more choices. They want a wider selection of devices, content and resources so they can choose the right tools for their particular needs. So to kick off this new year, we’ve worked with our partners to give schools more options for devices, classroom content and training resources.

K-12 Books in Google Play for Education
Google Play for Education makes it easy for educators to find and distribute apps and videos that unlock student potential, and schools have told us that access to a wide selection of books is just as important. That’s why soon we’ll add thousands of K-12 books to Google Play for Education, from digital textbooks like “GO Math!” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and “Journeys Common Core” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) to classic literature like “Bridge to Terabithia” (Harper Collins), "Lord of the Flies” (Penguin), and “Things Fall Apart” (Random House). Once a book is assigned, students can read it from their Android tablets, Chromebooks, or any other device through the Play Books reader. Affordable access periods of 60 days, 180 days, and 360 days help schools ensure that materials stay fresh (and classes stay interested) — it’s easy to change curriculums from year to year, or even customize reading materials for individual students. We're rolling out to a few schools today, and will make K-12 books fully available to all schools in the coming weeks.
Greater choice of devices
Technology is one tool to help teachers create innovative learning models. With devices that are affordable and manageable, the technology can get out of the way so that teachers can do what they do best — help students accomplish their goals. We’re hearing great success stories from schools using both tablets with Google Play for Education and Chromebooks. And analysts such as Futuresource report Chromebooks continue to grow, accounting for 1 in 4 devices shipped to U.S. K-12 schools according to preliminary data for the final quarter of 2013.

Today at FETC, our partners announced they’re making even more options available to schools:
  • New Chromebooks: Toshiba announced that their new Chromebook will be available for education customers. This 13-inch device has a battery that lasts up to 9 hours and is built for productivity, and is available today starting at $299. Lenovo announced the new ThinkPad 11e Chromebook series, available as a 360-degree touchscreen Yoga or traditional laptop this spring starting at $349. Educators at FETC will see demos of all the latest Chromebooks in the Google booth, including the new Dell Chromebook and LG Chromebase (available in April).
  • New tablets: Samsung announced their Galaxy Tab as part of tablets with Google Play for Education. It’s a 10.1-inch tablet designed exclusively for education, available in April 2014. At FETC, we’re also demoing the previously announced HP Slate 8 Pro tablet for the first time.

Helping educators share with one another
Teachers around the world are using Google tools in the classroom, and we aim to help educators learn from and share ideas with their peers. This week we launched the new Google for Education Learning Center, created in close partnership with educators who successfully use Google Apps and devices in schools. On this new site educators can learn about Google tools and how to use them for teaching and learning. It’s a one-stop-shop for new online courses, best practice videos, guides, and updated exams and certifications. Educators can demonstrate proficiency with Google tools by taking a Basics Exam or they can show advanced knowledge by taking exams to earn the Google Educator official qualification.

Learn more
If you’re attending FETC this week, visit us at booth 701. Educators will share ideas in our teaching theater throughout the conference. If you can’t make it to Orlando, you can learn more about how to Go Google by visiting our site: google.com/edu/gogoogle.