Studies Included in the Systematic Review

Author, YearStudy PopulationStudy DesignLength of InterventionApp Intervention Condition and Name of AppControl ConditionOutcome (Measure)Intervention Condition Outperformed Control Condition?
Learning domain: early math learning
 Aladé et al,30 2016aN = 60, mean age = 58.06 mo, 42% maleExperimentalb3 trialsMeasure That AnimalNoninteractive video of gameplay in Measure that AnimalMeasurement (measuring tasks similar and less similar to app gameplay)Yes (for measuring task similar to app)
 Han,31 2018N = 40, mean age = 42.08, 50% maleExperimentalb12 training trialsMath app developed for studycNo treatmentQuantity knowledge (quantity recognition and Give-N tasks)No
 Kosko and Ferdig,32 2016aN = 73, mean age = 51.34 moRCTd3 wkZorbit’s Math AdventureNo treatmentBroad math skills (19-item measure created for study)No
 Mattoon et al,33 2015aN = 24, range = 4–5 y, 62.5% maleRCTe6 wkDinoKids – Math Lite, Hungry Fish, Motion Math, Math Express, Maths Age 3–5, Park MathInstruction with traditional math manipulativesBroad math skills (TEMA-334)No
 Miller,35 2018aN = 13, range = 4–5 y, 53.8% maleRCTe10 dPackage of 15 math appsClassroom instructionBroad math skills (22-item measure created for study)No
 Outhwaite et al,36 2019aN = 389, mean age = 60.64 mo, 49.6% maleRCTe12 wkMaths 3–5, Maths 4–6Classroom instructionBroad math skills (Progress Test in Math Level 537)Yes
 Outhwaite et al,38 2017aRange = 50–61 mo, 48.1% maleQuasi- experimentale16 wkMaths 3–5, Maths 4–6Classroom instructionBroad math skills (48-item and 50-item measures created for study)Yes
 Papadakis et al,39 2018aN = 365, mean age = 62.0 mo, 48.5% maleRCTe14 wk16 math apps designed for the studycClassroom instructionBroad math skills (TEMA-3)Yes
 Park et al,40 2016aN = 103, mean age = 4.87 y, 51.5% maleRCTe10 sessions over 2–3 wkMath app designed for studycMemory game appBroad math skills (TEMA-3)Yes
 Schacter and Jo,26 2016aN = 227, mean age = 56.00 mo, 46.3% maleQuasi- experimentale15 wkMath ShelfcClassroom instructionBroad math skills (iPad assessment created for the study)Yes
 Schacter and Jo,27 2017aN = 433, mean age = 4.55 y, 50.6% maleRCTe22 wkMath ShelfcClassroom instructionBroad math skills (iPad assessment created for the study)Yes
 Schacter et al,35 2016aN = 100, mean age = 55.85 mo, 48% maleRCTe6 wkMath ShelfcTop 5 math apps in the app storeNo. sense abilities (iPad assessment created for the study)Yes
 Spencer,41 2013Range = 4–5 yRCTe5 dKnow Number FreeClassroom instructionNumeracy (correctly written No. 1–10)Yes
Learning domain: English and LA
 Blackwell,42 2015N = 352, mean age = 5.56 y, 51.1% maleQuasi-experimentale1 yShared iPad in classroom with set of 70 appsClassroom instructionEarly literary skills (Star Early Literacy Assessment43)Yes
 Brown and Harmon,44 2013aN = 20, range = 48–59 moRCTe1 wk3 educational iPad apps targeting upper- and lowercase alphabet knowledge, matching, and No. conceptsEducational apps unrelated to target academic contentAlphabet knowledge (PALS Pre-K45 Upper and Lower Case Alphabet Knowledge subtests and measures created for study)No
 Cubelic and Larwin,46 2014aN = 281, kindergarten, “relative balance of boys and girls”Quasi- experimentaleOne academic yearApps targeting first sound fluency (ABC Phonics, Build a Word, Magic Penny, Starfall), phoneme segmentation fluency (First Word Sampler, Word Wall HD, Pocket Phonics, Skills Builder Spelling, Phonic Monster 1), and nonsense word fluency (ABC Touch and Learn, Bee Sees, Kindergarten Lite, Starfall, Super Why)Classroom instructionPhonological awareness (DIBELS47 Next Assessment Phoneme Segmentation Fluency and Nonsense Fluency subtests)Yes (for Phoneme Segmentation Fluency and Nonsense Fluency)
 Gilliver et al,48 2016aN = 30, mean age = 56.5 mo, 50% MaleRCTe6 wkPhonological awareness app created for the studycVocabulary app created for the studyPhonological awareness and vocabulary (measure created for study)Yes
 Neumann,49 2018aN = 48, mean age = 45.19 mo, 52.1% maleRCTe9 wkEndless Alphabet, Letter School, the Draw AppClassroom instructionLetter name and sound knowledge, name writing (measure created for study)Yes
 Patchan and Puranik,50 2016N = 170, mean age = 51.9 mo, 43% maleRCTe8 wkWriting practice with iPad app (finger drawing)Writing practice with pen and paperAlphabet knowledge (naming 26 letters and writing 26 uppercase letters)Yes
 Russo-Johnson et al,51 2017aN = 71, mean age = 41.05 mo, 48.2% maleExperimentalb6 1-min trialsWord learning app designed for the studycNoninteractive video of gameplay in word learning appWord learning (No. correct responses in object naming)No
 Teepe et al,52 2017aN = 71, mean age = 40.05 mo, 40.0% maleRCTb2 10-min intervention sessions over 2 wkJeffy’s JourneyNo treatmentExpressive and receptive vocabulary (measure created for study)No
 Vatalaro et al,53 2018aN = 63, range = 3–5 y, 52.5% maleQuasi- experimentale8 wkEndless Alphabet, Noodle Words, Goodnight ABC, ABC GO, Beck and Bo, Draw and Tell, Don’t let the Pigeon Run this App, Alien AssignmentApps chosen and used by the study preschool (Letter School, Gazzili Science, Yumilo Rainbow Power, Faces I Make, Counting Bear)Receptive vocabulary skills (PPVT54) and expressive vocabulary skills (EVT55)No
 Walter-Laager et al,56 2017aN = 98, mean age = 27.3 mo, 53.1% maleExperimentalb20 minLingua Kidz used with an adultVocabulary picture cards, used with an adultLanguage development (abridged version of the standardized “Language and Development Test for 2-Year-Olds”57)No
Learning domain: science and health
 Kwok et al,58 2016aN = 86, mean age = 66.93 mo, 62.8%Experimentalb8 training trialsApp developed for study to teach animal factscFace-to-face instruction on animal factsNo. correct answers on 4 animal factsNo
 Putnam et al,59 2018aN = 114, mean age = 4.99 y, 50% maleRCTd5 dApp teaching about healthy and unhealthy foods (D.W.’s Unicorn Adventure)No treatmentRecall (No. times correctly names healthy and unhealthy foods)Yes
Learning domain: math and ELA
 Bebell and Pedulla,60 2015aN = ∼750, kindergartenQuasi-experimentale1 ySet of commercially available apps targeting ELA and math used in the classroom (during school-wide iPad implementation year)Classroom instruction as usual (in the year before the iPad implementation)Early literary and broad math skills (CPAA61 ELA and Math Subtests)Yes
Learning domain: math and science
 Schroeder and Kirkorian,62 2016aN = 100, mean age = 55.85 mo, 48% maleExperimentalbDon’s Collections: 15 questions total; Life Cycles: 5 trialsTwo mini games in the app Mesozoic Math Adventures (Don’s Collections [Math] and Life Cycles [Science])Noninteractive video of gameplay in word learning appQuantity; knowledge of growth cycle (measures created with items similar to app gameplay)Yes (for knowledge of the growth cycle for older preschoolers); no (for quantity task for younger preschoolers)
Learning domain: executive functioning
 Choi and Kirkorian,63 2016aN = 75, range = 23.5–25.6 mo, 44% maleExperimentalb4 trialsApp that required children to tap on specific location to reveal the hiding place of a charactercApp that showed a noncontingent video of the hiding place of a characterResponses on object retrieval trialsYes (for younger toddlers)
 Huber et al,64 2016aStudy 1: N = 18, mean age = 5.4 y, 50% male; study 2: N = 50, mean age = 5.1 y, 46% maleExperimentalb4 5-min trialsPractice with the app Extra Tower of HanoiPractice with 3D Tower of Hanoi ModelNo. extra moves on 3D Tower of Hanoi taskNo
 Huber et al,65 2018aN = 96, mean age = 36.6 mo, 56.5% maleExperimentalb9 min of screen timeEarly math app (Shiny Party)Cartoon (Penguins of Madagascar)Delayed gratification (gift-delay task) and working memory (working memory task)Yes
 Tarasuik et al,66 2017aN = 49, mean age = 4.8 y, 45% maleExperimentalb4 trialsPractice with the app Extra Tower of HanoiPractice with 3D Tower of Hanoi ModelNo. extra moves on 3D Tower of Hanoi taskNo
Learning domain: social communication
 Esposito et al,67 2017aN = 30, mean age = 47 mo, 90% maleRCTd4 wkStandard ABA + 3 apps created for the study to promote attention, imitation, and vocabularycStandard ABAAttention, vocabulary, and imitation (mastered targets in standard ABA)No
 Fletcher-Watson et al,29 2016aN = 54, mean age = 49.63 mo, 79.6% maleRCTd2 moApp targeting social communication skills, attending to people and following social cues (FindMe)cTreatment as usualSocial communication skills (MCDI68; CSBS-DP69; BOSCC70), (), and presence of Autism (ADOS-271)No
 Whitehouse et al,72 2018aN = 80, mean age = 34.83 mo, 79.6% maleRCTd6 moCommunity therapy + App designed to enhance ABA therapy social communication outcomes (Therapy Outcomes by You)Community therapySocial communication skills (MCDI, CSBS-DP), restricted and repetitive behaviors (RBS-R73), behavioral flexibility (BFRS74), developmental skills (ATEC75), and adaptive skills (VABS-276)No
  • ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis; ADOS-2, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule; ATEC, Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist; BFRS, Behavior Flexibility Rating Scale; BOSCC, Brief Observation of Social Communication Change; CPAA, Children’s Progress Academic Assessment; CSBS-DP, Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scale, Developmental Profile; DIBELS, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills; ELA, English Language Arts; EVT, Expressive Vocabulary Test; MCDI, MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory; PALS Pre-K, Phonological Awareness Literacy Screener, Preschool; PPVT, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test; RBS-R, Repetitive Behavior Scale, Revised; TEMA-3, Test of Early Mathematics Ability, Third Edition; VABS-2, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition.

  • a Peer-reviewed.

  • b Study context is laboratory.

  • c App was developed by study authors; italic script indicates the app is commercially available.

  • d Study context is home.

  • e Study context is school.