Why this app? How educators choose a good educational app

Armaghan Montazami, Heather Ann Pearson, Adam Kenneth Dubé*, Gulsah Kacmaz, Run Wen, Sabrina Shajeen Alam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The study examines if educators are valuing certain benchmarks of quality (i.e., scaffolding, feedback, curriculum, development team, learning theory) when they select educational apps from app stores and evaluates how they gather information during the selection process. Pre-service and working elementary educators viewed and evaluated app store pages for 10 simulated apps while gaze data (i.e., looking at either the written descriptions or app images) were collected using an eye-tracker. Participants' value-judgements were measured by their willingness to download the app, how much they would pay, their rating, and ranking, while gaze data examined participants' fixation count and fixation duration. Results from paired-samples t-tests, repeated-measures ANOVAs, and nonparametric tests indicate that educators value apps with educational benchmarks over buzzwords, while judging apps with development team, scaffolding, and curriculum higher than those with an integrated learning theory and feedback. Moreover, eye tracking results revealed that educators scrutinize app images more when they feature educational benchmarks. To improve educators' app selection, professional development should target educators’ views of learning theory and feedback as well as their use of app images as a source of information on app quality (cf., detailed text descriptions).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104513
JournalComputers and Education
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational apps
  • Elementary education
  • Eye-tracking
  • Mobile
  • Teaching


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