Approx. 200 attend first Learnovate Conference

We hosted our first National Conference at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday the 25th of June. With a turnout of nearly 200 representatives from the EdTech and affiliated sectors we were very pleased with the outcome.

As a first conference we decided on a format that saw all attendees stay together for the plenary session then stream into two sections, one focussed on Education and the other on Corporate and Lifelong learning. The morning event concluded by reconvening the entire audience for a close out session drawing conclusions from the sessions.

In the coming days we hope to have feedback from both moderators up here and will be making the presentations available via the site. This blog is more to acknowledge the event, to say that we have enjoyed providing a platform for this promising industry in Ireland and look forward to building on this year’s conference taking on board the feedback we have received and doing it all again next year.




Job Opportunity – Senior Software Developer

Post Senior Software Developer
Contract Duration 12 Months full-time
Department Learnovate Centre, School of Computer Science and Statistics
Salary Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience
Closing Date: July 10th 2015


The Learnovate Centre is an industry-led research centre in educational technology. Our multi-disciplinary team works closely with our industry partners to deliver innovative learning technologies in the areas of mobile & collaborative learning, social & informal learning, immersive learning, and metrics & assessment.

We are looking for an experienced software engineer to help us bring our cutting edge research towards robust, scalable, and market ready products. We are looking for someone who will take on new challenges, and grow with our team.

As a senior software engineer you will:

  • Build and enhance our innovative research demonstrators towards being robust and scalable products. You will work on technologies for personalisation, recommendation, learning analytics, and machine learning.
  • Influence the technical design, and take ownership of the products you’re developing. Be proud of what you work on, obsess about the quality of the work you produce.
  • Participate actively in a multidisciplinary team to design, build, and deploy novel educational technology products. You will contribute to scalable system architectures, software development, and efficient ways to deploy these new technologies.
  • Use the right tools for the job, be that from existing experience or your willingness to learn new technologies.
  • Work primarily on backend services and systems but with the opportunity and flexibility to work on mobile platforms (iOS/Android/Windows).


We like to work with numerous frameworks and languages and you will need to be flexible to learn new technologies.

You will thrive in this role if:

  • You have a solid foundation in Java/Groovy/Python/JavaScript (Node.js)
  • You have experience with SQL and NoSQL databases
  • You have worked with HTTP, JSON, XML, and RESTful webservices
  • You have experience with deploying software in a Linux environment


It would be great if you have experience working with:

  • Cloud hosting providers (AWS, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure).
  • Service Oriented Architectures and Web Service Integration.
  • Deploying software using Docker or similar containerisation technologies.
  • Software testing and agile software development methodologies.
  • Educational technology products and services.

Please Note: No expenses will be paid in travelling to interview.


  • Competitive salary
  • Flexible working conditions

Application Procedure

Candidates are asked to submit a covering letter and a full CV to:

Dr Martyn Farrows, Centre Director,
Learnovate Centre, Unit 28, Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus, Pearse Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353-1-896-4912

Learnovate National Conference 2015


EdTech Enabling the Knowledge Economy

Thursday 25th June, Aviva Stadium

Learnovate are very pleased to announce our first Annual Conference. This national event will explore different aspects of EdTech in preparing a future workforce for the knowledge economy: driving workforce-readiness and transformational change in education and lifelong learning.

Registration through Eventbrite can be accessed by clicking here


  • Understanding the skills and competencies that are relevant to the demands of the 21st century workplace
  • Workforce supply: aligning K-12 and higher education to market demand requirements
  • New models for personalisation and adaptivity
  • Ubiquitous opportunity: the impact of mobile and informal learning
  • Breaking down the barriers between traditional views of L&D, HR and ICT
  • Big data vs. good data – transformational role of analytics
  • Data privacy, data protection and privacy by design
  • Micro credentialing and digital badges
  • Serious games and new assessment models


Workforce Planning and Talent Analytics (NC), USA
State Street Global Investors, Boston USA
BNY Mellon, Ireland
Learning and Performance Institute, UK
Electronic Arts (EA), Ireland
Accenture, Ireland
Enterprise Ireland
Education Fast Forward, UK – the Digital Learning Movement, Ireland
CoderDojo, Ireland
Microsoft, Ireland
LearnLaunch, Boston USA
Godsil Education

Edtech, Ireland and Learnovate

EdTech – or ‘Education Technology’ – encapsulates the industry involved in the development of next practice learning technology solutions. From pre-school through higher education and into corporate and lifelong learning.

Globally, the sector is poised for significant growth, the overall market is estimated to be worth more than $250 billion by 2017. Ireland is recognised as a world a leader in EdTech. For more than 15 years, we have been leading learning innovations through research, collaboration and industry services and the level and depth of expertise available here is considered unique.

The Learnovate Centre is at the heart of this growth story. Since April 2013, Learnovate activities have supported the creation of over 100 jobs – and with the EdTech sector showing significant growth potential, this number is expected to more than double by 2017.

Who should attend?

This twin-track event will explore the roles and responsibilities of both the formal education system and corporate organisations – and will bring together over 150 senior representatives from the worlds of education, technology and corporate learning and development. The audience will include:

  • Learning and development managers and HR professionals
  • Education professionals and practitioners
  • Learning technology developers and vendors
  • Organisations seeking to resource and retain talent
  • Learning analytics and data protection professionals
  • Policy makers in the fields of education, training and professional development
  • Media specialists

Registration through Eventbrite can be accessed by clicking here

161,786 Education Apps – Seven Key Findings

Kerri McCrory

Apple’s App Store which opened in July 2008 is distribution platform for apps developed with iOS, the mobile operating system developed by Apple. Apps can be downloaded onto iOS devices and are organised by 24 main categories which range from social networking to lifestyle.
A report was created which intended to provide the key findings into apps in the Education category.
Apple’s App Store which opened in July 2008 is distribution platform for apps developed with iOS, the mobile operating system developed by Apple. Apps can be downloaded onto iOS devices and are organised by 24 main categories which range from social networking to lifestyle.
A report was created which to provide the key findings into apps in the Education category a Learnovate Lunchtime Seminar gave members an overview of the report and is summarised here.

  • Age Pricing Tiers (in USD)
  • Age Rating
  • Customer Rating
  • Publisher Information
  • App Categories
  • File Sizes
  • Supported Devices


Pricing Tiers

The Apple store provides 83 tiers of pricing which range from Free to 999.99. Apps will either be Free or will have a pricing tier assigned, which can be scheduled to change. It is worth noting that Apple has recently changed the terminology surrounding free apps moving from a Free button to Get button within the App Store, see figure 1. This Get button reflects that although apps are free, many of these apps will be based on a freemium model or include in-app purchases.

Figure 1: Example of the Free and Get buttons

The key findings for Pricing Tiers reveal that:

  • Over half of the apps are Free (55.07%) and that most of the pricing increments increase gradually, with the exception of 19.99 which places in the top ten
  • Four apps, out of 161,786 are priced at 999.99, the highest price a developer can charge for an app:
  • Two apps are from the same developer
  • No ratings are available for all four apps
  • The first three apps all target the 4+ age range
  • The files sizes are relatively high


Age Ratings

All apps have an associated age advisory rating providing a guideline to the suitability of the app, as well as being used by parental controls. The age rating is provided by the publishers.
The key findings for Age Ratings reveal that:

  • Ages 4+ make up the majority of the apps with 93%
    In a recent development (2013) publishers’ whose apps qualify for the Kid’s Category (i.e. apps which target ages 11 or below) have to assign a ‘Made for’ age advisory. These apps must include a privacy policy and require parental permission for in-app purchases and external links and are subject to the recently-introduced Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). There are three options:
    − Made for ages 5 and under
    − Made for ages 6-8
    − Made for ages 9-11

  • Only 7.24% of apps have this assigned this rating, ‘5 and Under’ is the most popular option with 59.28%


Customer Ratings

Customer ratings play an important role in the App Store. Apps which rate highly can be featured in the Top Charts within the App Store which lists the top Free and Paid apps to a potential worldwide market. In addition the customer ratings can play an important role for customers when browsing apps, with some customers opting to purchase or download an app which has positive or higher ratings. Once an app has been downloaded, it can be rated by the customer at any time, or developers can prompt users during the use of the app to rate the app. It is worth noting that there are issues associated with ratings in App Stores. These issues mainly refer to fake ratings and scams (Liu & Sun, 2014).
There are five different rating tiers available to customers ranging from 1-5. Once a number of customer ratings have been submitted, more rating tiers are introduced, they include:
• 1.5
• 2.5
• 3.5
• 4.5
The key findings for App Ratings reveal that:

  • Only 33.99% of all apps have an associated rating
  • The average app rating is 3.5
  • The most popular rating category is 4 with 15.1%
  • From the 49,287 distinct publishers only two have achieved rating of 5 stars


Publisher Information

Apple requires each publisher (either an individual or a company) wishing to releasing an app to enrol on an iOS Developer Program. Once enrolled each publisher takes part in a three step process:
1. The development of the app
2. The testing and debugging of the app
3. The distribution of the app.
The key findings for Publisher Information reveal that:

  • There are 49,287 distinct publishers within the Education category
  • This results, on average, with each publisher publishing 3 apps with the median resulting in 1 app per publisher
  • The top 10 publishers are provided, the short description provides an insight into the general nature of the apps, revealing that not all of the apps are specifically educational i.e. travel dictionaries and parent communication tools.


App Categories

Categories play an important role in the discoverability of apps with the App Store. Currently there are 24 categories in the App Store. When releasing an app, the publisher must specify the primary category, the secondary category is optional. Apps with a secondary category will be featured within the primary category results and vice versa.
Given key findings for Publishers, it is evident that the interpretation of education is a very broad.
The key findings for App Categories reveal that:

  • 20,450 apps have one category, education assigned. Apps cannot have the same primary and secondary category, though 161 apps have education and educational combination.
  • The top 5 combinations are presented in table 1 showing the most popular combination of Education and Games.

Table 1 – Categories in App Store

Categories Number
Education 20,450
Education and Games 19,552
Education and Reference 12,800
Education and Entertainment 9,373
Education and Books 8,297
Education and Travel 4,564


File Sizes

Apple have very recently (February 2015) doubled the maximum file size of apps from 2GB to 4GB, the first increase since the opening of the App Store in July 2008. This can be attributed to the increased processing power of Apple devices and user demand for richer media experiences.
The key findings for File Sizes reveal that:

  • It is evident that 1MB – 8MB is the most popular file size with 35.54%
  • There is a significant reduction of apps over 50MB which may reflect the cap Apple had put in place in 2012, since updated to 100MB, which restricts apps over this size requiring a Wi-Fi connection to download the app.



The App Store allows apps to be downloaded onto iOS devices which can be divided into three main categories:

  1. iPod
  2. iPhone
  3. iPad

The key findings for Devices reveal that:

  • There are 23 distinct types of supported devices which are presented with the three main iOS categories defined which include iPod, iPhone and iPad
  • The most popular category is iPad with 59.34%, followed by the iPhone and iPod
  • Within each category multiple devices are supported, the figure 2 indicates the popularity of individual devices within the categories
  • Although most of the iPad devices are the most supported, the ‘iPod Touch 4th Generation’ is in the top 10 followed by a combination of the iPhone and remaining iPod devices.


Figure 2: Popularity of Individual Devices