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Untapped opportunity exists with K-12 educational apps: report

Opportunity abounds for application developers in mobile device management for K-12 education, according to a study by Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc. and STEM Market Impact, LLC.

IESD and STEM Market Impact found that mobile technology is increasingly playing a large role in K-12 education, creating the need for business leaders to react accordingly. The survey collected responses from 558 educators and is the second annual report.

?The Business Edition: 2013 National Survey on Mobile Technology for K-12 Education shows opportunity for app developers in the category of mobile device management (MDM),? said Daylene Long, founder of STEM Market Impact, Portland, OR.

?In an open-ended question, respondents reported that the biggest challenges they face is MDM,? she said. ?This presents an opportunity for developers.?

Mobile education
According to the study, many schools are trying to integrate mobile technology into K-12 education in order to make learning more engaging and personalized.

Among the respondents, 59.6 percent said that mobile technology had been adopted in about 25 percent or more of the schools in their district. Additionally, 15.5 percent said that their districts were very likely to adopt mobile technology in the next one to two years.

Yet, many respondents reported challenges in terms of funds and mobile device management. The schools would need to provide strong professional development and implementation support for teachers.

While few classrooms were able to afford a one to one ratio of mobile devices to students, many offered a cart of mobile devices that students could share. Some schools had students bring their own devices to school.

Interestingly, iPad was by far the most common type of mobile device that schools were using or planned to use. After the iPad came Google Chromebook and then iPod Touch.

The categories of apps that respondents found most beneficial were digital textbooks, student productivity tools and creation tools.

In terms of pricing, 62.4 percent expected to pay $4 or more for an essential app, and 32.3 percent expected to pay that much for a supplemental app. Around half expected to pay $1.99 or less for a supplemental app.

Marketing implications
This study provides a few key takeaways for marketers.

First of all, cost seems to be a big concern for schools, so marketers may want to search beyond price for revenue. It seems like the appropriate price point for most apps would be around $4.

Additionally, marketers should look into providing mobile device management services to educators and schools. This seems to be one of their biggest challenges.

According to Ms. Long, the categories for apps that ranked the highest among educators were digital textbooks and student productivity, such as note taking and scheduling.

?App developers for education should keep in mind that educators are looking for apps that are engaging for students and apps that help teachers personalize instruction to meet the needs of different students,? Ms. Long said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York