SUMMER SALE ENDS SOON | Last days to get 10% off Premium — BUY NOW!

QUSTODIO ANNUAL DATA REPORT 2020

Educational apps

This page is chapter 4  in a five-chapter series of app categories included in the Qustodio Annual Data Report on children’s digital habits during the year 2020.

RESEARCH BY APP CATEGORY

Education

What we found

Education or Ed-tech is a huge space, and it grew even larger in 2020. Google Classroom, the most popular education app globally and in every region we analyzed except the UK (where ShareMyHomework was number one), grew to 150 million (students, teachers and admins) from 40 million last year. This growth was thanks in large part to the shift to schooling going either partially or fully online during the pandemic. At its peak, 90% of learners (1.6 billion people) were affected across 190 countries. Still today, 888 million children still face school disruptions.

According to our analysis, for the whole year, education app use grew 54%. And, Spain stood out as the region with the greatest surge in education app use during the pandemic and the highest average of time connected.

What were the most popular learning apps among kids?

Due to its size and the variety of apps in the education category, for popularity we divided education into two types: classroom management apps and learning apps. In the classroom management sub-category, Google Classroom remained the most popular app globally and in every region except the UK, where Show My Homework was still the most popular, but by less than 1%. Google Classroom was more than 3x more popular than second place Remind School Communication globally and in the US, and more than 16x more popular Edmodo, second in Spain.

Language, math, and quizzing apps domina- ted the most popular apps of 2020. Duolingo was the most popular globally and across the US, the UK and Spain, two years in a row. Kahoot! and Photomath jostled for second and third place. New to 2020, was WordReference Dictionary, which came in fourth globally, in the UK and in Spain, and sixth in the US.

How much time did kids spend on learning apps?

We researched time spent only on learning apps instead of on classroom management apps because time spent on management apps is currently extremely small. For example, in the US, the region where kids spent the most time on classroom management apps, kids only spent 6 mins/day on Google Classroom and 3 mins/day on Remind: School Communication. These low numbers indicate that kids were more likely to be using these tools via the web, not mobile apps, and use the app only for a quick check in on their homework status.

In regards to learning apps, kids spent the most time on subscription based apps that offer full courses, such as Khan Academy (globally and the US), and IXL (UK). In Spain, where these types of education services are not among the most popular, quizzing apps such as Kahoot! and Quizlet were used the longest. Globally, time spent on Kahoot! increased 50%. Kids used learning apps less than 20 mins/day on average.

As in other app categories, kids’ use of education apps (management and learning combined) soared in the spring due to the pandemic restrictions. Kids in Spain used education apps the longest, an average of nearly 12 mins/day, peaking at nearly 17 mins/day.

We researched time spent only on learning apps instead of on classroom management apps because time spent 

As in other app categories, kids’ use of education apps (management and learning combined) soared in the spring due to the pandemic restrictions. Kids in Spain used education apps the longest, an average of nearly 12 mins/day, peaking at nearly 17 mins/day.

Kids and social media

What time of day did kids use learning apps?

Kids’ use of education apps during the day skyrocketed 162% during spring lockdowns. Use peaked between 10am and 11am and continued during traditional school-time hours – a reflection of kids learning online. As the year went on, education app use returned to near pre-covid levels, the only category to do so.

What time of day did kids use learning apps?

Kids’ use of education apps during the day skyrocketed 162% during spring lockdowns. Use peaked between 10am and 11am and continued during traditional school-time hours – a reflection of kids learning online. As the year went on, education app use returned to near pre-covid levels, the only category to do so.

Which education apps did parents block most?

Parents blocked Google Classroom, the coordination app accused of tracking student activities and locations outside the classroom, more than any other education- related app globally and in every region except the UK, where it came in third. Duolingo, the language learning app that received some backlash for its notifications, was the second most blocked app globally and in the US. Photomath, a math app that some children used as a cheating tool (the company’s website says 75% of kids use it correctly) was the third most blocked education app globally and second in Spain.

Kids and social media

What we expect

Even as kids are allowed to return to school in person, we expect the use of online class- room management apps to continue to grow. Teachers and administrators, now accustomed to using these tools will want to continue to use them both as a more efficient way to organize schoolwork and as a way to be better prepared to communicate with students outside of school in case of future waves of Covid-19 require children to return to homeschooling. Google Classroom will maintain its lead position globally and may finally overtake ShowMyHomework in the UK.

Among the learning apps, we don’t expect any major changes. Nevertheless, we think the learning app space is due for a shakeup, so we would not be surprised to see a new player jump onto the charts like we saw in the gaming category. More gamification and using AI to facilitate learning would be welcome.

What we expect

Even as kids are allowed to return to school in person, we expect the use of online class- room management apps to continue to grow. Teachers and administrators, now accustomed to using these tools will want to continue to use them both as a more efficient way to organize schoolwork and as a way to be better prepared to communicate with students outside of school in case of future waves of Covid-19 require children to return to homeschooling. Google Classroom will maintain its lead position globally and may finally overtake ShowMyHomework in the UK.

Among the learning apps, we don’t expect any major changes. Nevertheless, we think the learning app space is due for a shakeup, so we would not be surprised to see a new player jump onto the charts like we saw in the gaming category. More gamification and using AI to facilitate learning would be welcome.

Kids and social media

What we recommend

We love when technology is used for good, especially for educational purposes. But we have two concerns. The first is the amount of time kids spend learning online. While spending 15 mins/day on an education app like Kahoot! doesn’t sound like much, if a child has already been online all day long, this extra screen time can take its toll physically and mentally. For things like homework and classroom communication, we understand kids don’t have a choice, they have to connect. We recommend that both parents and educators try to keep online school work to a minimum and help kids learn in a more hands-on way whenever possible.

Our second concern is data privacy. In general parents trust schools, and schools are doing their best to go digital. But in the rush to digitize, parents and even educators may be putting children’s data to the hands of third parties they aren’t aware of. Parents should talk to their school administrators to get a clear understanding of how their child’s data is stored and shared.

Malcolm Bain, Legal and EU privacy expert, encourages parents not to trust schools blindly. “To make sure sensitive information about your child is being used correctly, you should understand what data schools have about your children, how it is used and with whom it is shared. Under GDPR, schools have the right to process all personal data relating to the child that is relevant for their education and personal development.

This includes not just basic identification, but also health data that impacts education (and school lunches!), and social-psychological data as regards learning skills and capabilities, aptitudes, and interactions with other children. Schools don’t need consent from parents for processing this data, but they do need to inform parents (and children over 14). Both children and parents have full rights to request access to this information, correct it or oppose processing it – but schools can refuse to delete or modify this information when it is necessary for them to carry out public duties or defend their own legal interests.”

Maria Guerrero, Family Psychologist, worries about the education millions of children missed during the pandemic and the quality of online education, especially for younger children. “Research increasingly shows that too much time online affects the development of children’s gray matter and their ability to concentrate, both are keys to learning. To ensure proper social and neurological development and to lay a solid basis for learning, parents should ensure that kids get face-to-face instruction and are allowed to touch and explore every day. Give your child every opportunity to learn in an off-line way. Read books, not ebooks. Practicing writing with a pencil, not a keyboard. Play board games, not video games. Use flash cards instead of quiz apps.”

Give your child every opportunity to learn in an off-line way. Read books, not ebooks. Practicing writing with a pencil, not a keyboard. Play board games, not video games.”

Maria Guerrero

Family Psychologist