The top 20 list of apps schools are using most contains a few surprises

More than half of students participated in digital learning for more than two hours per day, according to Lightspeed Systems' analysis.

The Google Workspace suite is followed on a list of the top 20 school apps by YouTube, Clever and Kahoot. While that may not be a huge surprise, you may not know that most school districts owned more than 2,000 apps in 2021-22 but just a fraction—300—accounted for 99% of use.

Individual students accessed a median 72 different apps last school year with students in sixth grade using the most at 82, according to the “2022 Edtech App Report” by Lightspeed Systems, a K-12 cybersecurity provider. The report, based on the company’s usage data, also found that more than half of students participated in digital learning for more than two hours per day.

On the cybersecurity front, almost all of the apps—some 91%—changed their privacy policies, with many making multiple changes. “Technology opens doors for students but also increases the IT management required by school districts,” says Brook Bock, chief product officer for Lightspeed Systems. “That is evident in the sheer volume of applications students use and the ever-changing privacy policies of those apps.”

One potential danger is that IT staff may not be monitoring all those apps that, though used rarely, still contain students’ personally identifiable information. “Whether an app is used daily or once per school year, IT leaders need to increase visibility so they can effectively mitigate risks and comply with federal and state student data privacy laws,” the report says.

Because app usage evolves as students progress through K-12, IT leaders should also implement grade- or campus-specific filter settings. This will protect younger kids while giving older students the flexibility they need to conduct academic research and participate in esports and other tech-heavy extracurricular activities, Lightspeed recommends.

Finally, IT leaders can get a clearer picture of which apps are driving student success by analyzing the time spent on each app and relevant assessment data, among other metrics.

Top 20 school apps

Here are the top 20 school apps based on Lightspeed’s usage data:

  1. Google Workspace
  2. YouTube
  3. Clever
  4. Kahoot
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Microsoft Suite
  7. Quizizz
  8. Facebook
  9. Quizlet
  10. Twitter
  11. Adobe
  12. Pinterest
  13. Cool Math Games
  14. Blooket
  15. Encyclopedia Britannica
  16. Nearpod
  17. Pear Deck
  18. Google Translate
  19. Khan Academy
  20. ABCYa

The report points out that YouTube, Kahoot, and several others on the top 20 school apps list are free or offer free versions. IT leaders can save money by dropping paid apps that duplicate the functions of the free programs.

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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