Patrick Larsson

Tuesday 18th October 2016

Apps go from good to better to tailor made and free.

Now is a great time to teach with apps and tablets. Gone are the days when teachers had to settle for a generic $2.99 learning app by a developer knowing very little about what was going on in the classroom. Today, the choices are instead nearly endless and many of them free.

The shift started about two years ago when developers of learning apps started to see their download numbers decline for the first time since the app economy's inception. Developers' initial reaction was to lower the price of their apps. Almost overnight, apps came down about 25-35%.

However, this was just the first step on the path to better and cheaper learning app choices for education. The next step came as developers realized that everybody was lowering their prices, meaning there was no gain in market share for anyone.

Instead more seasoned developers, with several apps already in the App Stores, started using cross promotion. The price of one app was set to FREE in hopes of users noticing the developer's other apps that were now promoted in the free app. Oftentimes, developers rotated which of their apps to set to free with the result that if you were patient, you could get a developer's whole lineup for free.

The process of apps going from $2.99 to basically free (if you could wait for the right moment) took place over the course of about 1 year during the 2015 school year. At the same time as this apparent price war was going on, the quality of apps kept improving. Developers were in effect putting out better and better apps at lower and lower prices.

Normally, one would think that when the price reaches zero, we are at the end of the road. In one way this is correct as a price point of zero is not something you can base a sustainable business upon. But even if this trend has indeed caused some developers to exit the market, it has also led others to innovate even further.

The next, and current, wave of good news to hit teachers teaching with apps is the emergence of crowdsourced content platforms like Quizlet where teachers can create their own study cards on the web and share with students at no cost.

And, if we get to say it ourselves, an even more interesting platform is our own which launches on later this Fall. On it you will be able to use App Designers to create and share different kinds of learning apps on the web or as app levels for iOS and Android apps. Anyone can create a stunning app in 5-30 min. For those who do not want to create their own apps there will also be a community of shared apps you can subscribe to. The whole platform will be free to use for those who pre-sign up now.

So, to recap, in about two years time apps have gone from good to better to tailor made and shareable while, at the same time, the price point have been lowered considerably with many great Edu apps and platforms now even being free.

Patrick Larsson Patrick is co-founder of Happi Papi.
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