Officially announced at Google I/O (Google’s Developer Conference) in May 2016, Android apps are continuing to move through the development cycle as they are now available on an increasing number of Chromebooks.
(Only specific Chromebooks run Android apps at this time. At this time, most students and staff in Maine 207 do not have a Chromebook that can run Android apps right now. As a result, no changes will be seen until either the Play Store becomes available on that Chromebook model or new Chromebooks are distributed. Moving forward, all new Chromebooks being brought to market during calendar year 2017 are promised to run Android apps in the future, even if they may not “out of the box”.)
With all this, Maine 207 has remained on the cutting edge of examining new uses for technology in school and to support learning for students and staff. While consumer Google accounts have open access to try and install any Android app from the Google Play Store on one of the Chromebooks running Android apps, it works very differently for education accounts. The Maine 207 Technology Team has been heavily testing Android apps, and the app deployment process throughout the winter and spring of 2017, and at this time, in order to support broader testing with students and staff, we are opening up Android apps across our domains to all Maine207.org and s207.org users.
What this means for you as a user of Maine 207 technology
For most students and staff members, using your normal everyday Chromebooks, this will mean nothing new at this time. If, on the other hand, you are given a new Chromebook that can run Android apps, upon your initial sign-in, you will be asked to approve access to the Play Store as pictured below.
You should do this (and know that it will actually take a few minutes to process, so be patient). Once the Play Store has been approved, a number of apps will be available for you to install on your device, and many will begin installing automatically as pictured below.
During Summer School 2017, we are doing some specific limited testing with Samsung Chromebook Pluses from Google of Android apps with a small number of students and teachers.
How Android apps work in G Suite for EDU organizations
With a consumer Google account, like on an Android phone, one can simply go to the Play Store and install whatever apps they choose. For educational organizations, though, the Play Store works differently. Specific apps must be made available through the Play Store at the District-level. Then, those apps can either be set to install automatically for users, or the apps can simply be left, so that they are available for users to install from the Play Store themselves. Currently, Maine 207 is using both strategies for distributing Android apps.
Like with Chrome OS apps, Maine 207 is excited to distribute and use Android apps that serve important functions to enhance learning and provide more tools for the creation of high-level, high-quality products. At the same time, the most important app available instructionally to students and staff remains the web, through which the world’s information can be accessed and creations that solve real problems can be shared.