Making informed and conscious decisions in regards to a child’s education is important, but difficult. In the case of educational games and apps, there are thousands of lists online that point educators and parents toward certain apps while rating others low or subpar. Rather than providing yet another list of math apps kids can learn from, it may be helpful to outline places to read about others discussing what to look for in an app to allow teachers and parents to make the decisions on their own.
What makes a game app educational? When can you not feel guilty about the screen time of young children and feel like they are getting use out of the game? Here are some links to help you explore the answers to these questions.
Planet of the Apps
This blog post by the Collaborative’s own Dr. Mary Hynes-Berry touches on many of the factors that should be addressed when teachers, parents, and grandparents attempt to assess the quality of a children’s educational app. Her venturing into the world of game apps has brought her to some useful conclusions.
What Do Quality Children’s Apps Look Like?
Another blog post from the Fred Rogers Center, this outlines an informal study that was done by having people watch children play an app and discuss and rate the quality of that experience. The interesting results point toward the impact of providing context, multiple perspectives, and playing in collaboration with adults.
TEC Center at Erikson Institute
The Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute has ongoing webinars, conferences, and other information regarding conscientious decision-making when it comes to children and media.
Next Generation Preschool Math
This NSF-funded project is exploring the integration and development of math content using digital means, specifically for preschoolers. Their results and the videos they provide on their website indicate how much talking about math and questioning strategies can bring out the learning from math apps and games.
Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs
The joint position statement that was issued in 2012 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media can be considered a healthy guide for anyone who is interested in children and media.
Common Sense Media
While not an in-depth look at educational apps, the Common Sense Media website does provide a cursory but helpful glance at specific apps (as well as t.v. shows and movies) and attempts to give a quick rundown of the age appropriateness of a large number of them, as well as give a objective opinion on their educational value.