While Apple’s app store may have most apps overall, a surprising study by The Learning Counsel showed that Amazon actually has a far greater number of apps specifically for education and educators.
That result is somewhat shocking, because Apple has always been the perceived leader in the app world. The Apple app store—unlike Google Play for Android apps—even has a heavy barrier to entry. All apps are screened, and ones that don’t meet Apple’s quality standard are kept out. Even with those barriers, Apple has a lead in total app count, but total volume of apps does not necessarily equate to the number that are available for education and educators.
The Learning Counsel survey found that “Apple not only doesn’t have all the Education Apps, they have the least.” It also shows that Amazon’s Kindle platform “is the clear app volume winner” in terms of education.
“What was very interesting is that for the Kindle, there are just so many more interesting apps that have high utility for schools,” the study said. “While there are still disproportionately more for primary age, Amazon has a lot of titles for middle and high school kids, even college-age.”
A note on Kindle
Amazon’s Kindle tablets run on a version of Google’s Android operating system that has been modified for use. That means that while all Android apps should run on the Kindle platform, there are also apps designed specifically for Kindle that either will not work or will be unavailable to the rest of the Android universe.
Kindle-specific apps won’t work on home computers or even other Android tablets, which can cause problems outside the classroom. (There are emulators for PCs that will run Android apps, but nothing that does the same for Kindle-specific apps).
Just how many apps are we talking about?
The Learning Counsel survey sifted through hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of apps, finding that the actual number of useful apps was much lower than one might expect.
As of November 2013, the apps deemed useful for education broke down as follows:
It’s important to note that the Learning Counsel survey broke down all available apps and made judgments as to what actually counted as educational (i.e., Apple’s app store has many more than 239 apps labeled as educational).
Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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