Why free apps sometime suck for schools.

#edtech #edchat #mlearning


The other day I was showing a colleague an amazing little app I use to manage my to-do lists across multiple devices on multiple platforms. He was really impressed until he found out that is cost...

Prepare yourself...

A whopping $4.99!

“$4.99! I'm not going to pay that much for an app!”

I'm sorry to say this about him - but what an idiot. He won't pay $4.99 to make his life a whole lot better when the coffee in his hand cost more than this app. Again, what an idiot.

But some school districts are no different.

For example, as I work with more and more districts about converting over to mobile devices in the classrooms, the discussions always leads to the apps that these devices will use. But almost without exception as I start to suggest certain apps over others there is always someone in the group to freak out over the price of an app.

“You mean the app is not free?”

“No, it is $1.99.” I repeat.

“Can't you find one that is free and does the same thing?” they fire back.

“Yes, there might be one that is free, but it won't do the same thing.” I answer back knowing where this is headed.

And acting like they didn't hear a thing I said; “Show us the free one.” they ask.

And with that, I start to pack up and I announce that I am no longer interested in helping them with their mobile integration if we cannot get past the cost of apps then there nothing more to talk about. This usually shocks them back to reality and I stay and finish my presentation and recommendations. Although I have walked out of a few meetings to be called back a few weeks later when they have come to their senses.

What is so wrong with paying for an app if it gives you what you need?

Now I get the fact that at the district level every penny spent on an app could equate to thousands of dollars in the end. But are we going to do tech integration right or not? I know budgets are tight, but holy crud people, when did it become so evil to pay for an app.

Let's say the unit price of a mobile computing solution is $399, and with the RIGHT apps it is then $419. If the different between a device being useless or useful is $20, then we better rethink paying for apps.

It really is okay we can pay for apps, because when it comes to apps, you get what you pay for.

- Brad Flickinger, tech teacher, Bethke Elementary School