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Education Research: The Effects of Educational Apps on Student Achievement and Engagement

A Study by Maya Lopuch, Director of Learning Design & Analytics at eSpark Learning


Educators have been excited about iPads in the classroom for years. Until now, most of this excitement was based on intuition. We’ve seen how kids light up when they explore a new app, but we’ve never had hard proof that an educational app was really improving student learning. Now, we have published a new study that shows that using iPads in the classroom can have a tremendous impact on student achievement.


This education research shows that the effects of iPads are even bigger than we expected. Former Harvard education researcher Maya Lopuch carefully documents how using an iPad in the classroom impacts students’ achievement. Drawing on results from a national, Common Core aligned assessment, Lopuch shows that students who used iPads in the classroom grew on average nine percentile points. Students went from the 51st to the 60th percentile after using iPads for just three months. This jump represents an enormous gain in achievement. The average student in Lopuch’s sample achieved 165% of her expected academic growth.


This is the first rigorous study to show these monumental gains for elementary and middle school students. Earlier education research on blended learning at the college level has found that students do just as well in a blended environment as they do in traditional classes. Now, evidence for younger students show that incorporating educational technology into the classroom early can produce massive learning gains.


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