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Report: K-12 Students Now Use 72 Separate Apps for School

A report on ed-tech practices at more than 100 U.S. K-12 school districts found that app use has proliferated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating more data privacy considerations.

It's estimated that 10 percent of K-12 schools teach computer science.
David Kidd/Governing
As K-12 schools continue to adopt new ed-tech tools to facilitate online learning, the introduction of digital learning apps has created new security vulnerabilities and a need to tighten data privacy practices, a recent report from the tech company Lightspeed Systems suggested.

According to Lightspeed’s Edtech App Report, which examined the use of ed tech in more than 100 school districts during the 2021-2022 school year, those surveyed use more than 2,000 apps, with 300 of those accounting for 99 percent of use. The report said students are now using a median 72 separate apps, with students in sixth grade using up to 82. Among the most widely used apps were Workspace, YouTube, Clever and Kahoot!, the report noted.

The study, which covered districts across the U.S., added that 91 percent of apps used last year by students had changes to their privacy policy — the median was three changes — in response to growing concerns about student data privacy and network security amid the rapid adoption of K-12 remote learning apps during COVID-19.

With K-12 education remaining a top sector for cyber crimes such as ransomware all throughout the pandemic, according to the FBI and CISA, Lightspeed CPO Brook Bock said schools must carefully consider the pros and cons of adopting each new ed-tech tool.

“Technology opens doors for students but also increases the IT management required by school districts," Bock said in a press release. "That is evident in the sheer volume of applications students use and the ever-changing privacy policies of those apps.”