Top educational apps for children might not be as beneficial as promised

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Sumary of Top educational apps for children might not be as beneficial as promised:

  • A new study analyzed some of the most downloaded educational apps for kids using a set of four criteria designed to evaluate whether an app provides a high-quality educational experience for children..
  • Jennifer Zosh, associate professor of human development and family studies at Penn State Brandywine, said the study — recently published in the Journal of Children and Media — suggests apps shouldn’t replace human interaction nor do they guarantee learning..
  • “Parents shouldn’t automatically trust that something marked ‘educational’ in an app store is actually educational,”.
  • “By co-playing apps with their children, talking to them about what is happening as they play, pointing out what is happening in the real world that relates to something shown in an app, and selecting apps that minimize distraction, they are able to leverage the pillars of learning and can successfully navigate this new digital childhood.”.
  • While watching videos and playing games are popular ways children spend their time on these devices, the researchers said there are also many apps that are not only popular but claim to be educational..
  • “We noticed a concerning number of apps being marketed to children as ‘educational’ without reputable justification or verification of these educational claims,”.
  • “Our study was an effort to create a coding scheme that would allow us to evaluate apps marketed as educational and have a framework to verify, or refute, those claims.”.
  • For the study, the researchers developed a system for evaluating educational apps that was based on Zosh’s previous work in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, which used decades of research on the science of learning to uncover the “pillars”.
  • In that piece, Zosh says, “we explored how these pillars might give us insight into how to leverage new technology to create truly educational experiences for young children..
  • In the current study, Zosh and the other researchers tested the apps children are actually using against these pillars to uncover what today’s apps are doing well and where they struggle in supporting learning in young children..
  • “The first pillar is to facilitate active, minds-on thinking in the children — asking them to question, guess, evaluate, and think deeply, rather than simply tapping or reacting to on-screen stimuli,”.
  • “The second is that it helps children stay tuned into the learning at hand, rather than distracting them with overwhelming sound effects, flash ads, and gimmicky rewards.”…

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