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Educational apps for early learners see huge jump

New study examines availability, variety of apps for mobile devices

Educational apps for early learners see huge jump

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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  1. sarasmum

    January 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Highly recommend the Smarty series of apps, our school uses them for all lower grades preK-2nd

  2. smcewen

    January 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    stagging #’s for pre-school and elementary students – Curious what the highed # will look like as mass adoption for mobile device at the High School and College level sky rockets.

    Great summary on key considerations for mobile application developers. Discoverability will continue to be a challenge as the # of apps grow exponentially.

  3. poakley3

    January 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Wondering if most of these apps are just a remake of drill and practice. I would love to see more apps that target creativity and other higher level skills for all levels.

  4. henryplayfoot

    January 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    At Stealth Education we’ve initially targeted parents with our literacy/creativity app ABC Spy ( . Our aim is to fuse robust pedagogy with an engaging, fun experience – feedback so far is that we’re achieving this, and I’d love to know what teachers think of potential for our app in the classroom…

  5. pointkinetic

    January 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    We have a range of math apps aimed at higher levels available on the Android Market. Please visit for more information. We would be very interested to hear what you think.