DAILY INSIGHT: The mobile app imperative

By Steve Young, CIO Advisor

It's not news that mobile device adoption continues to surge. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere and the price barriers to adoption have collapsed. Many schools have embraced mobile devices and have adopted tablets or allowed BYOD, or both.

One area schools are lagging behind in is putting their web content in a format that consumers prefer on those devices. A visit to most school web sites still shows that the sites themselves are not mobile friendly.

But before jumping off the deep end and telling everyone to make a mobile-friendly web site, a close look at some recent statistics is in order. Techcrunch had 2014 as the year total desktop web users were first outnumbered by mobile web users. And in K-12 we are already seeing more families where their only Internet access is via a mobile device. But before making your site mobile, consider this key metric from Flurry Analytics. Their recent data shows that in just once year, mobile device users spend 86% of their time in mobile apps daily, versus just 14% on the mobile web. Mobile web use fell 6% in just one year.

So while appeasing the voracious mobile beast, K-12 districts need to look at their strategy closely. Is a mobile web site good enough? The data says otherwise. Districts are going to need to seriously look at creating a mobile app, paying a company to do it, or subscribing to one of the increasing number of K-12 mobile app providers.

Steve Young is CTO of Judson ISD in Texas and founder of the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group. He blogs at CTO Technotes, where this is cross posted. Follow him on Twitter as @atemyshorts