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K-12 Students on Average Used 143 Ed Tech Tools in 2021-22

According to LearnPlatform's annual report and top-40 list of digital tools used in K-12 classrooms, ed tech use held steady from the last school year, with Google Suite and learner-focused tools remaining dominant.

tablet and books with math equations on a chalkboard
When the COVID-19 global pandemic made its way to the U.S. in 2020, forcing schools to shut down, education was thrust into using digital tools to keep instruction going. As things began to normalize, with kids going back into the classroom, the use of digital tools in K-12 has held strong. According to an analysis by North Carolina-based ed tech company LearnPlatform, students on average engaged with 143 ed tech tools during the most recent full school year, with the most common being Google Suite, YouTube and Kahoot!.

Following up on its midyear report from April, LearnPlatform's EdTech Top 40: Fall 2022 report this week assessed usage of digital platforms, tools and resources from Aug. 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022, in K-12 school districts across the country, accounting for more than 3 million students and teachers, a news release said. Based on a sample of more than 56 billion interactions with over 8,000 tools, the report found that an average of 1,417 tools were accessed on a monthly basis per school district. Similar to students, each teacher, on average, engaged with 148 different tools throughout the school year — not quite doubling the 86 tools cited in LearnPlatform's midyear report, which had counted only half the year, and roughly on par with its full-year report from a year ago.

LearnPlatform Founder and Chief Executive Officer Karl Rectanus said in a public statement that, with all indications being that ed tech tools are not going anywhere, it’s important for district leaders to get a better understanding of what products their teachers and students use so the district can ensure safety and equity while maintaining a positive impact on learning.

"With tech-enabled learning here to stay, understanding which tools are both effective and safe will not only improve teaching and learning, but help budget decisions as districts face a fiscal cliff as stimulus dollars are spent, too," Rectanus said.

The report also found that the top-40 tools used by K-12 districts were relatively unchanged from a year ago. The list was once again topped by Google Suite — comprising Docs, Slides, Drive, Forms, Sheets and Drawings — which was previously broken up by tool but rolled into one for this year’s list. YouTube, Kahoot! — the most popular non-Google tool — Google Classroom and Google Sites rounded out the top-five ed tech products used.

The top-40 list, which LearnPlatform has been releasing since 2017, is broken up into learner-focused, educator-focused, organization, and general and pervasive categories. Learner-focused tools account for 52.5 percent of the list, followed by educator-focused with 22.5 percent, organizational-focused at 17.5 percent, and general and pervasive with 7.5 percent. Additionally, the report pulled information from LearnPlatform's inventory dashboard for a deeper look into products performing specific functions, namely Classroom Engagement and Instruction, Learning Management Systems, Courseware Platforms, Supplemental Platforms, and Study Tools.

"This is an essential, but insufficient, first step to informing decisions about teaching and learning,” Rectanus said. “Once we understand which tools are used, asking the deeper questions about which ones are supporting better outcomes for our students and teachers is critical, and now required by the Every Student Succeeds Act."