IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Can maths apps add value to learning?

This research project investigated the emerging trend of educational maths applications (apps) in children's learning environments and its impact on achievement.

This study is highly relevant to current educational policy and practice surrounding the increased use of technology for raising attainment and provides robust evidence resulting in a better understanding of educational maths apps for young children.

This project ran from November 2020 to March 2022.

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Underachievement in mathematics affects 20% of children and persists from an early age. Educational maths applications (apps) are an emerging trend in children’s learning environments aiming to raise achievement. 

However, with over 200,000 educational apps available within the App Store, deciding which apps to use poses a significant challenge to teachers, parents, and policy makers. The current study aimed to advance our understandings of whether and how educational maths apps can support children’s learning, as well as outline gaps in current research evidence and practice. 


Phase 1

A systematic review to synthesise the current evidence on educational maths apps for young children in the first three years of compulsory school (e.g. ages 4-7 years in England; ages 5-8 years in the USA). 

Phase 2

A content analysis to examine the content and design features of different educational maths apps and how they may support children’s learning. 

Advisory board
  • Prof Alison Clark-Wilson, UCL Knowledge Lab, IOE
  • Prof Natalia Kucirkova, University of Stavanger
  • Ms Ruth Maisey, Nuffield Foundation
  • Dr Alison O’Mara-Eves, EPPI Centre, IOE
  • Prof Victoria Simms, Ulster University
  • Ms Caroline Wootton, Specialist mathematics teacher 
  • Ms Lucy Williams, Save the Children