Apps Developed by Academics

Sophia Shing, Benjamin Yuan


In the days of the digital Wild West, developers from all backgrounds have joined in the gold rush trying to profit from the almost unbridled spending of well-to-do parents on educational products. In 2016, the Apple App Store had over 80,000 educational apps. The proliferation of educational apps has happened at a furious pace and more apps are being introduced constantly. Although apps are labeled as educational, they are not held to any science-based standards or subject to any certification (Hirsch-Pasek, et al. 2015). With the boom in new apps introduced every year, there is simply not enough time, money, or resources available to evaluate each app as it enters the market. As a result, “educational” apps are largely unregulated and untested. As a result, app users are misled and are spending money on products which are not actually educational. The real experts – researchers, teachers and educational specialists – need to take over the driver seat in this important and evolving realm of educational apps with the developers playing the supporting role instead of the leading role. With increasingly lowered cost and ease of development to produce an app, academics who do not have vast financial resources or substantial technical knowledge are able to create truly impactful, pedagogically-based apps either by themselves or outsourcing to development services. Although technology promises to be transformative, educational content must remain the main thrust of any educational mobile app development and not technology. Educational apps need to have the experts involved. It is time that education is put back in its rightful, central position.

Keywords: educational apps, ICT, tablet computers, educational content, mobile technology, app development

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