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Educational apps for early learners see huge jump

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
January 17th, 2012

Educational apps have huge potential for today's students.

As mobile learning devices crop up in classrooms from coast to coast, the market for educational apps appears to be thriving, with educational apps for pre-schoolers and toddlers experiencing a huge jump over the past two years, according to a new report.

iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store,” conducted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, analyzed the “Education” category in Apple’s App Store in an effort to understand the educational apps market and possible emerging opportunities within that app category.

The report reveals that mobile app revenue is predicted to generate $38 billion by 2015, and Apple’s App Store has paid out more than $2.5 billion to developers. There are currently more than 500,000 apps available on iTunes and more than 300,000 available on Android, although this report examines only Apple’s App Store.

The study included 109 publishers within the sample of 196 apps, and was conducted in July 2011. The report updates a 2009 Cooney Center analysis on the same topic.

“In the two years since that study, the market for apps has grown at a breathtaking pace,” the author notes. “However, the field is emerging so quickly that empirical studies on the effectiveness of apps for learning have lagged behind, and learning apps for mobile devices have become a hotly debated educational technology topic… What is not up for debate is that today’s children would benefit if apps become an important force for learning and discovery.”

Fourteen percent of all the apps mentioned–or 27 apps–are intended for school use and include study aids, tools, and test prep.

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