Through our fully featured mobile learning platform, Woz U students can learn on the go and transition seamlessly between a desktop in the university library or computer lab and their mobile device.

In both developed and developing nations, mobile devices are the most common way for people to access the Internet and to consume information. According to Pew Research, approximately 99% of U.S. adults aged 18-29 own a cellphone and 96% own a smartphone in particular.

Furthermore, 1 out of 5 Americans reports themselves as a “smartphone-only” Internet user who doesn’t use any other device to surf the web. In the developing world, the statistics are nearly identical, with 98.7% of the population having a mobile subscription.

Educational Apps and Mobile Usage

One of the driving factors behind the growth of mobile usage in the developing world is price. While the cheapest entry-level laptop may cost anywhere from $150 to $200, a capable android smartphone with LTE connectivity can be had for less than $50.

As a result, just about every business has their own mobile app—if not two or three—to reach consumers where they are. And, in order to catch up with the developing world’s quick adoption of mobile devices, companies are rushing to improve their mobile offerings. Global brands, like McDonald’s and Nike, for example, offer multiple versions of their mobile applications in various languages and for other locales. To give you an idea, statistics from Statista show that there were 2.1 million apps available on Android’s Google Play Store and 1.8 million on Apple’s App Store as of Q1 of 2019.

Whether in Canada or the Philippines, young learners use their mobile devices to stay connected with the world. For EdTech companies and educational institutions around the globe, this presents an incredible opportunity to deliver better offerings and stay in touch with learners. To understand this opportunity, we’ll take a look at how EdTech companies are using mobile apps to expand their user base and facilitate learning. We’ll also see how traditional educational institutions are using them to improve academic performance and keep up with students.

The Impact of Educational Apps

According to a study published in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, the usage of educational apps can increase both test scores and retention rates. In the study, researchers at Swinburne University of Technology created a fully customizable educational app that allowed professors to send quizzes based on the course material to their students. Students who chose to use the app finished the semester with 7.03% higher grades than their peers who did not. And, after introducing the app, student retention rates rose by 12% compared with the previous semester.

However, most universities don’t offer their own custom-built educational applications, in which case they must search for a third-party app that meets their needs. Across both iOS and Android, there are approximately 500,000 educational apps available for download. Just like any EdTech offering, these educational apps come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with their own specific focus. Some educational apps offer the same online courses you would expect to find on a desktop but in a mobile-friendly format. Others, like DuoLingo, deliver bite-sized learning through gamification, which blurs the lines between playing a video game and structured learning.

Some educational apps offer a smorgasbord of material that covers diverse topics from coding and foreign language to mathematics and biology. These apps can be used in the classroom to supplement live instruction and encourage self-driven learning at home. Free educational apps like Khan Academy aim to cover all of these topics and even offer test preparation courses. Whatever your students’ interests may be, there’s bound to be an educational app that suits their needs.

Academic Companion Apps

A recent survey conducted by “Education Technology” showed that 87% of university students used mobile apps to help them study and stay on track with their coursework. In the survey, students ranked apps like Todoist and Dropbox as the most helpful apps for alleviating the stress of looming deadlines. While both of these applications aren’t technically educational apps, they help students stay organized, study more effectively, and submit assignments on time—all of which improve academic performance.

Today, many universities are starting to offer their own companion app. Additionally, individual departments within the university, such as financial aid, are offering their own apps. These kinds of apps are designed to deliver better support to students and reach them while they’re outside of the classroom. Some great uses for companion apps include notifying students when assignments are due, when activities are happening on campus, and when final exams are coming up. According to the research, universities that use personalized text messages alone can actually improve retention rates by 10%.

Woz U Mobile App

Woz U offers its own educational app, which is available on iOS. Students who attend a “Powered by Woz U” university get free access to our mobile app, which assesses the user on a variety of areas, such as deductive reasoning, hardware, mathematics, data, and basic computer knowledge. After taking the assessment, users are then recommended a career track that’s tailored to their skills and the demand in their local area. This not only helps Woz U mobile app users to discover their hidden talents but also to promote inclusion and diversity in tech.

Through this fully featured mobile learning platform, “Powered by Woz U” students can learn on the go and transition seamlessly between a desktop in the university library or computer lab and their mobile device. Instead of choosing between online education and the traditional university experience, students at “Powered by Woz U” schools can get the best of both worlds. Most importantly, students can learn anywhere, anytime while still receiving the structure and support of live teachers and staff at their local university.