First Advisor

Ku, Heng-Yu

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Educational Technology Programs, Ed Tech Student Work


This study explored the culture of learning with educational iPad apps using

activity theory as a guiding framework. First, the top nine educational apps were tracked

in the Top Charts section of Apple’s App Store for a duration of four months. The nine

sampled apps, selected based on their frequency of appearance, included Toca Hair Salon

2, Stack the States, Endless Alphabet, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Wildlife Count Along,

Wild Kratts Creature Power World Adventure, Wallykazam! Letter and Word Magic,

Starfall Learn to Read, Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2, and Bug Art. The descriptions, version

updates, app content, and customer reviews for each app were digitized, coded, and

analyzed in Dedoose using the Activity Checklist. Additionally instructional analysis

diagrams were developed to provide insight into the user interface and actions. Results of

the study were presented in the form of nine portraits. The overview and relevant

instructional characteristics were detailed for each app. The final chapter examined the

broader implications of the app experience. The technology, the instruction, the adult

guide, and the App Store were identified as mediating factors that contributed to the

dynamic app culture.

Abstract Format



iPad (Computer); Computer-assisted instruction; Teaching - Aids and devices; Educational technology


405 pages

Local Identifiers



Fall 2015 Graduate Dean's Citation for Outstanding Thesis, Dissertation, and Capstone

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.