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Using applications (apps) in the classroom


What are "apps"?

Apps are pieces of software that run on any device, such as a laptop, smart phone, or an iPod or iPad.  As devices increase in popularity – at home and business, as well as in the classroom – a seemingly endless range of apps have become available for purchase.  Many of these apps are designed specifically for use by teachers and students.

iTunes apps can now be purchased through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Education.  Apps are also available for other operating systems – for example for the Android Marketplace (for Android devices) or Blackberry AppWorld (for Blackberry devices).

This factsheet considers the iTunes and Google Marketplace app stores specifically, however the same general principles will apply to other app stores you may encounter.  For further information, contact your local copyright advisor.

For further information, contact your local copyright advisor.

How can schools use apps in the classroom?

Importantly, you can only use apps in ways and for purposes permitted  by the terms of use that apply when you purchase the app.

Apps purchased by the school

iTunes apps:

Schools can now purchase iTunes apps and books through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Education (VPP). 

The VPP program is a simple way to buy and distribute apps and books in bulk for your school.  It also allows develops to offer special pricing for education institutions, and your school can receive a 50% discount for app purchases of quantity 20 or more. 

To get started, you will need to complete the online enrolment process on Apple’s website.  This will involve your school selecting a ‘Program Manager’.  The Program Manager will need to have an Apple ID or will need to create one.  After your Program Manager enrolment is complete, the Manager will be able to create Program Facilitator accounts.  These accounts are for individuals within your school who are authorised to buy apps and books through the VPP on behalf of your school. 

For more information, the Volume Purchase Program guide can be found here.

Android apps:

Android apps generally can only be used by the person who purchases them.  Currently, there is no bulk-licensing or educational licensing arrangements that enable a school to purchase an Android app for use on multiple devices throughout a school.

Note however that the developer of an Android app can set the terms on which their particular app is licensed, and might – in the case of educational apps, for example – permit broader use within a school.  To determine whether this is so, you will need to review the Terms of Use or End User Licence Agreement for that particular app.

Apps purchased by the student

An alternative to a school purchasing iTunes apps for use on school-owned devices is for the school to provide students with gift cards (or use the 'gifting' function within iTunes, for example) for the student to purchase and install the apps on the student's own device.  In this approach, apps are purchased by the student using his or her own iTunes account, and are used on the student’s own device rather than the school's.

Can a school rely on Part VB, or s 200AB, to make copies of apps?

The Part VB statutory licence (which permits much photocopying and electronic copying by educational institutions) does not apply to software, such as apps. 

Nor will the flexible dealing exception in s 200AB of the Copyright Act generally be able to be relied on to make copies of apps for distribution to students. This exception cannot be relied on if the app that you want to copy can be purchased.

For further information on the Part VB statutory licence, see the information sheet 'Education Licence B: Statutory Text and Artistic Licence'

For further information on the flexible dealing exception (s200AB), see the information sheet 'Flexible Dealing'