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Google Apps Marketplace Expands to Education

In a move anticipated for a few weeks now, Google launched its new education section within the Google Apps Marketplace Tuesday, which features more than 20 tools and products from 19 different vendors, most of which launched with the section's creation.

The new apps include learning management systems, student tools for creating e-portfolios, and even platforms to facilitate adaptive and game-based learning. All the apps—which as Web-based software programs differ from iPhone and other mobile device apps in breadth of content and method of use—integrate with the Google Apps marketplace through single sign-on and access via Google's navigation bar, according to a blog entry press release.

Many of the apps are free—at least in basic versions—and most are focused toward teachers and administrators. LearnBoost, Engrade, PlannbookEdu, and ThinkWave all offer their own versions of free teacher gradebooks. For more student-centric offerings, RCampus and Digication both offer free portfolio-building tools, while social-learning platform Grockit and BrainPop's educational movie app are also available at no cost.

As you'll soon read in our forthcoming issue of Digital Directions, iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices are compatible with hundreds of mobile apps targeted primarily toward children and their parents. Perhaps because of the difference in how Google apps would be consumed—via desktops and laptops instead of mobile devices—its app vendors appear to have focused on the classroom setting. We'll have to wait and see whether that market expands as rapidly as the educational wing of the Apple App Store.

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