Mobile Apps in K-12 Education

"BYOD" Movement
Advantages and Disadvantages
 Best Educational Apps for Mobile Devices
Sites for Further Exploration

Apps in K-12 Education Overview

  • When the app store opened in July 2008, there were about 500 apps.  Now, there are 500,000+ apps on iTunes and 300,000+ on Android.

  • The app store has had more than 25 billion downloads

  • By 2015, mobile apps are expected to bring in nearly $38 billion (with about $2.5 billion  being paid out to developers).

  • Of the top selling apps in the "Education" category of  the iTunes store, 80% target K-12.

  • 72% of these apps specifically target preschool and/or elementary aged children.

  • While the amount of children's educational apps has increased, the amount for adults has decreased.

  • The most popular app subject is general early learning - the significantly trailing second place subject is math.

  • The cost of children's apps is increasing though they are generally less expensive than those for adults.

  • Many apps are being targeted toward parent/child rather than teacher/student.
All statistics in this section are from Cooney (2012).

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What exactly is "BYOD"?

Bring Your Own Device!
  • Students are encouraged to bring to school whatever wifi capable devices they own (i.e. smartphone, tablet, iTouch, e-reader, netbook)

  • These devices are used to access school resources during instructional time under the teacher's guidance and supervision

  • As of 2010, 75% of kids aged 12-17 have cellphones (Barseghian, 2012).

  • As of 2010, 19% of Americans own tablets (Barseghian, 2012).

  • The BYOD movement is also becoming more popular in the business sector with employees using their personal devices to access corporate information and resources.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of BYOD

  • Paperless assignments
  • Customizable e-books
  • Extends learning beyond the classroom
  • Reaches students where they live, work, and play
  • Limitless possibilities for a technology-rich environment
  • Encourages authentic dialogue of how to use technology responsibly
  • Decreased cost to school districts
  • Cutting edge technology
  • Encourages participation and engagement
  • Exacerbates the digital divide
  • May cause distractions
  • Teachers must be well-versed in many different technologies
  • Privacy/dangerous content issues
  • Need for standardization of apps across devices
  • Mobile content may not be as secure as online content
  • Impact of hundreds of devices on the wifi system
  • Support of various devices
  • Difficulty integrating mobile learning data with other data

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Best Educational Apps for Mobile Devices

  • Brain Honey - author online curriculum, create & personalize lesson plans, interact with parents and students (free)
  • Dropbox - sync files among multiple devices (up to 2GB free)
  • Edmodo - a Facebook-like social networking tool with increased security features (free)
  • Evernote - clip info from the web, connect to a drawing tool, take notes and sync it with your computer (free)
  • Flip It! - animation app that creates a flip-book effect for drawings (Lite version is free)
  • Google Apps - innovative tools for classroom applications (free)
  • Poll Everywhere - classroom response system using text messaging (free for K-12 classes of 32 or less)
  • Screen Chomp - records your touchscreen interactions and audio and saves the file online (free)
  • Skitch - annotate and markup photos, screenshots, pictures, maps (free)
  • TED Ed - lessons worth sharing and talks from the world's most renowned educators (free)
  • TED Talks - talks from people all over the world (free)
  • Wolfram Alpha - an answer engine that responds both with text and visual forms ($1.99)

Collected from Walsh (2012) and McLester (2011).

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Further Resources

A Day Made of Glass 2 -
This is the education version of Corning's vision for the future.

APPitic -
A directory of 1800+ apps for education tested and tried by Apple Distinguished Educators; features a Bloom's Taxonomy category.

I Education Apps Review -
A group of 500+ educators, administrators, and app developers dedicated to "grading" educational apps.

iPhoneNess -
40 Best augmented reality apps

LanSchool Technologies EdApp Certification -
Provides teachers/professors management, monitoring, and interaction features with certified apps

mLearnopedia -
Collection of the best content regarding mobile learning

Online Education Database -
Top 25 apps to improve students' and teachers' productivity

Rasmussen College -
100 apps for Tech-Savvy teachers

Scoop It -
A curation of articles regarding mobile learning in the classroom.

The Innovative Educator -
A blog dedicated to supporting learning in innovative ways.

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Barseghian, T.  (2012).  In some cash-strapped schools, kids bring their own tech devices.  Retrieved on May 20, 2012, from

Cooney, J.G. (2012). iLearn II: An analysis of the education category in Apple's app store.  Retrieved on May 7, 2012, from

Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Haywood, K., (2011). The NMC horizon report: 2012 k-12 edition.  Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Mangukiya, P. (2012).  How mobile apps are changing classrooms and education.  Retrieved on May 21, 2012, from

McLester, S.  (2011).  An app for that...and that...and that. THE Journal 38 (2). Retrieved on May 7, 2012, from

Quillen, I.  (2011).  Apps for ed. evolving: But perhaps not as many as you might think.  Education Week's Digital Directions 4(2), 16-17.

Walsh, K.  (2012).  15 Favorite iPad apps as selected by teachers.  Retrieved on May 7, 2012, from

Watters, A. (2012).  What tech in schools really looks like.  Retrieved on May 21, 2012, from

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