The Google Play Store received an update adding a new section for educational apps. This new section, called “Teacher Approved,” features apps that meet Google’s “Designed for Families” program requirements and have been reviewed by a panel of teachers. For developers of educational apps, this presents new opportunities for App Store Optimization.
Teacher Approved Program
Google Play’s Teacher Approved Program is an editorial program for educational apps. Approved apps will appear in a new section on Google Play, as well as appear in distinct banners and collections and be marked with a “Teacher Approved” badge. This new program is in part due to the growing need for apps that can help educate and enrich children as homeschooling and remote learning becomes a necessity.
Teacher Approved apps will also include information about what teachers find valuable about them. Apps in the program are vetted by over 200 teachers from across the US, with individual teachers selected based on the age groups the apps are intended for. For instance, apps aimed at children aged 5 and younger would be reviewed by pre-K or kindergarten teachers.
Apps are evaluated based on a number of standards, including:
- Appeal to children
- Enrichment potential
- Design quality
- Age appropriateness
The apps must also meet the “Designed for Families” requirements. Not only must all content be appropriate for children, there are also restrictions on ads and similar features.
There will be around 1,000 Teacher Approved apps at launch, including 60 available with Google Play Pass. More apps will be added as the program continues.
As part of this change, Google is removing the Family star badge and Family section from Google Play. The Family Library will remain unchanged, and apps that were in the Family section will not be impacted. Many apps under the Family section are also eligible for Teacher Approved placement.
App Store Optimization
Developers of educational apps can use the Teacher Approved Program as an opportunity for App Store Optimization and app marketing. Being included in featured lists like those for Teacher Approved apps can provide a boost for visibility. The app badge and notes explaining why the app was selected may also help with conversions, as parents see how the app will help their child.
Apps in this program do not necessarily have to be educational, as long as they provide some level of benefit to children using them. According to Google:
“Teachers in our program look for fun and inspiring apps that kids will love, with or without an educational focus. We think teachers are specially positioned to use their expertise in child development to look for content that’s not only age-appropriate, but also reflects current trends in what kids like.”
Developers who want their apps considered for the Teacher Approved program should check to ensure their apps qualify for the Designed for Families program and update if necessary. All apps in that program are automatically placed in line for teacher review and are reviewed on an ongoing basis. There are no additional forms to fill out, but that also means developers will not be able to talk to someone if their apps are not approved. The timeline for review will vary as well, subject to reviewer discretion.
If an app is not selected, Google recommends taking relevant courses on Google Play’s Academy for App Success. Apps will be triggered for re-review when they are updated.
As current events make teaching remotely and homeschooling necessary, educational apps are becoming more of a requirement for teachers, parents and students. While the Teacher Approved apps do not necessarily have to be educational apps, parents looking for educator-approved apps for their children may still take interest in any apps featured there. App developers can take advantage of this opportunity, as new programs and featured sections are opportunities to reach more users across the store.
Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.