Districts Used 7,000 Tech Tools This Year. Which Ones Were Most Popular?

Associate Editor

School districts across the U.S. accessed a total of more than 7,000 ed-tech products in the 2018-19 school year, and individual school systems use an average of 703 different digital tools every month, according to an online analysis of the top 40 ed-tech products released today by LearnPlatform.

That’s a 40 percent increase in the library of ed-tech tools identified on the ed-tech management platform compared to 2017-18. And it’s a 28 percent increase in the average number of products used in individual districts, compared to 2017-18, when the number was 548.

Google Products Take Top Spots

The Top 40 analysis was drawn from data using LearnPlatform’s Google Chrome Extension that schools uploaded for free. That tool gives the researchers insights from more than 10,000 participating educational organizations, representing over 1.1 million learners. The findings are based on usage of 3,428 ed-tech products and 6.7 billion data points from educational organizations using LearnPlatform’s Google Chrome extension.

Google products dominate seven of the top 10 positions on the list, with Google Docs ranked #1. This classroom tool is used by 86 percent of all digital tool users studied. Gmail is a new entrant on the list; it is also categorized as an operational tool used by nearly 59 percent of districts.

“It looks like, with Google’s intention to support all aspects of education, they are touching each of those,” said Karl Rectanus, the co-founder and CEO of Lea(R)n, the company whose platform districts use to organize, streamline and analyze their ed-tech. The penetration can be explained, at least in part, by the fact that “if you’re on a Chrome browser, you’re accessing Google Docs,” he said.

Rectanus said it’s important to note that this analysis “speaks more to the comprehensive nature” of the use of the various suite of Google tools, “rather than a competitive advantage against other content or other operational tools.”

‘Content’ Category Sees Biggest Growth

LearnPlatform also analyzed ed-tech tools designed and used to provide specific instruction to students. Their use grew by 10 percent over the most recent year.  YouTube, at #3 on the overall list, was the top content product for usage, and Khan Academy ranked 15th.

iReady, Nearpod, and PBS are three newcomers to the Top 40 since the list was started three years ago.

Categories that lost ground were reference and assessment—each losing 5 percent of the product usage “pie.” The top reference tool was Wikipedia, which ranked #8, and the top assessment tool was Kahoot!, which ranked ninth. Grammarly, a reference tool, appeared on the list for the first time this year.

The top social networking tool accessed is Pinterest (#14), with Twitter and Facebook in more distant positions.

In the learning management system category, Google Classroom led at #5 on the list, with Canvas the #16 LMS tool.

In the operational category, Clever and Google Sheets are newly added to the list.

Now in its third release, the ed-tech top 40 list has generated interest from a variety of companies and interest groups that follow the K-12 market.

Education leaders in states and districts, as well as foundations and ed-tech providers themselves, are using the list “to get a better sense of the landscape,” said Rectanus.

Image courtesy of Lea(R)n

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16 thoughts on “Districts Used 7,000 Tech Tools This Year. Which Ones Were Most Popular?

  1. Interesting, but I tend to question the validity of a survey using a Chrome extension which then shows high use of Google products. A less biased data collection method would be more credible.

  2. This data is invalid if it was collected only via a Google Chrome extension. Lea(R)n should know better than try to characterize these limited measurements as representative of the industry. There’s a vast number of educators and institutions NOT using Chrome. There are districts who will never trust critical student data to Google. If this data is representative of Lea(R)n’s actual understanding of the industry, nothing from Lea(R)n should be trusted. EdWeek should not have published these findings as news. Or, at the least, should have pointed out the truck-sized hole in this analysis.

  3. Yes, you can take a look at this article from today’s Washington Post to see why Chrome does not belong in schools. (Nor many of the tech companies who take more than they give our schools.)

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