Learn to Fish: Learning to Evaluate Educational Apps


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With so many "educational" apps in the marketplace, how do you decide which ones are worth keeping--and which ones to throw back? Don't let the perfect educational app be the one that got away!

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Learn to Fish: Learning to Evaluate Educational Apps

  1. 1. Learn to Fish-Evaluate Apps Yourself!NAEYC National Institute for Early Childhood Professional DevelopmentSan Francisco, June 2013Lilla Dale McManis, PhD-Research Directordmcmanis@hatchearlylearning.com LillaDaleMcManis@DrLDMcManisCopyright 2013.
  2. 2. If you don’tknow whereyou’re going,any road willget youthere.----LewisCarroll
  3. 3. Did you know?• “App Store has been subject to over 10 billiondownloads and AndroLib claims Market hasexceeded 3.2 billion downloads. Thesenumbers are undoubtedly impressive andawe-inspiring, but how many times are thesebillions of downloaded apps actually beingused? A study by software company Localyticsstates that 26 percent of applicationsdownloaded are only opened once.”http://www.phonedog.com/2011/02/01/how-many-times-are-downloaded-applications-actually-being-used/
  4. 4. Did you know?• Would you be surprised to hear that more than60% of the apps in the App Store have neverbeen downloaded, even once? Thats theconclusion of analytical firm Adeven. ChristianHenschel, Adeven CEO, said that there are only a"couple of thousand apps" that get downloadedin number from Apples on-line applicationsstore.”http://www.phonearena.com/news/400000-apps-in-the-App-Store-have-never-been-downloaded-says-report_id32943
  5. 5. Purpose & Learning ObjectivesTo provide you with the tools and understandingneeded to evaluate Apps at your local program orclassroom level…• Why it is important to systematically evaluate Appsyourself?• What are the key areas to consider?• How does the “Early Childhood Educational TechnologyEvaluation Toolkit” work?*Disclaimer: Photos and APPS do not imply endorsement.
  6. 6. Setting the Stage…Let’s first briefly visitNAEYC & Fred Rogersposition statementhttp://www.naeyc.org/content/technology-and-young-children
  7. 7. When used intentionally and appropriately,technology and interactive media are effectivetools to support learning and development.• Active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering;• Give the child control;• Provide adaptive scaffolds to help children progress inskills development at their individual rates; and• Are used as one of many options tosupport children’s learning.• Technology and interactive media should expandchildren’s access to new content and new skills.
  8. 8. Intentional use requires early childhoodteachers and administrators to haveinformation and resources regarding thenature of these tools and the implications oftheir use with children.• To better meet the needs of individual children;• Supporting enhanced communicationwith families; and• Providing children new opportunities forexploration and mastery.• Cost and maintenance must also be considered.
  9. 9. APPS, APPS, & More APPs• Apps on mobile devices making way into earlychildhood classrooms at unprecedented rate• Reported in iLearnII study, Joan Ganz CooneyCenter found as of mid-2011 already over800,000 Apps• Representing a multibillion-dollar market
  10. 10. So What’s There?• Cooney Center analyzed 200 Apps• 100 in top selling categoryeducation category of iTunes store• Almost 50% of top 25 sellers for elementary• In Education category overall,toddler/preschool Apps most popular (at 58%)• As well as area w/ most growth from 2009 to2011
  11. 11. Their Conclusions….• Assessing quality and learning value is difficult– Common standards of educational value for Appsnot present– Few reputable reviewers– These reviewers’ inability to keep up with all theApps there are currently and that keep coming
  12. 12. Their Recommendations• Cooney Center calls for creating a common setof education standards and• To take the opportunity to do so in the Appmarket while it is still forming
  13. 13. Let’s Check an App Out….
  14. 14. Recent Case In Point….http://childrensappreview.blogspot.com/2013/05/are-toca-boca-apps-really-educational.htmlMay 29, 2013
  15. 15. Early Childhood EducationalTechnology Evaluation Toolkit• To address, evaluation tool developed forsoftware review which includes Apps on tablets.• Areas chosen informed by research and keyconsiderations identified as important by field ofeducational technology, specifically as relevant toyounger learners.• Tool published mid-2012 by NAEYC in journal“Young Children” & 2012 book “Spotlight onYoung Children and Technology”.
  16. 16. How do I knowthe technologyand content areappropriate andchildren arelearning?
  17. 17. What would you like children to learn?A first step is to establish learning goals for thechildren. For example:– approaches to learning (such as curiosity, flexiblethinking, persistence)– language/literacy– mathematics– social studies– science– social-emotional (like cooperation, identifyingemotions)– self-help
  18. 18. Then it’s time to evaluate:• Educational value• Engagement to enhance learning• Child-friendliness• Interactivity• Monitoring of progress
  19. 19. Educational value• learning versus focus on winning?• content based on research/standards?• feedback is informative/teaches?
  20. 20. Age-Child Appropriate• appropriate cognitive skill(s)/subject matter?• set in interesting context?• pre/non-readers can navigate?• free from bias?
  21. 21. Child-Friendly• simple/clear choices?• multiple, positive opportunities for success?• after adult support, children can useindependently?
  22. 22. Enjoyable/Engaging• enough activities with variety?• appropriate use of rewards?• graphics realistic and appealing to intendedage?• activities match well to attention span?
  23. 23. Progress Monitoring- Assessment• covers all the key areas the software teaches?• easy to use and interpret?
  24. 24. Individualizing Features• can be customized for child’s needs?• allows creation of new activities?
  25. 25. Integration• initial training/professional development onintegration included?• ongoing training/professional developmentopportunities?
  26. 26. Activity Time…..Evaluate provided examples using the Toolkit
  27. 27. App Evaluation Activity: Dora 3D Pyramid
  28. 28. App Evaluation Activity: Reading Raven
  29. 29. App Evaluation Activity: Toca Boca Hair Salon
  30. 30. Closing ThoughtsWe hope this session and the Toolkit will:• free you from the current situation in whichmany App reviewers do not have a strongbackground in– child development– Education– teaching pedagogy• are reviewing based on– personal preference– bells and whistles– pro or con agenda
  31. 31. Apps versus Learning Systems Software• Single Apps might be better for enhancement thanmain component of the curriculum.• While tempting to always go free there issomething to “you get what you pay for”.• Less may be more.• There are still many very good morecomprehensive learning systems which meet a highstandard according to the areas of the Toolkit.• No matter how the App or any software comes intoyour classroom, YOU as the teacher are in the bestposition to decide if it is a good addition to yourchildren’s learning environment.
  32. 32. Action PlanTo help you incorporate the informationfrom this session, consider this Action Plan:• As a result of what you have learned in this session,what are the things you will want to do differently?• When you succeed incorporating this new information,how will it impact your work?• What kind of help do you need, and from whom, toimplement your new information?• How might you share what you have learned and yoursuccesses with parents and with colleagues?
  33. 33. Q & A
  34. 34. To Say Thank You….• eBookhttp://hatchearlylearning.com/resources/ebooks/evaluating-technology-ebook/
  35. 35. Resources• How to Evaluate Technology for Early Learners: HatchWebinarhttp://hatchearlylearning.com/events/how-to-evaluate-technology-for-early-learners/• Finding the Education in Educational Technology:NAEYC Young Children Journalhttp://www.naeyc.org/yc/article/finding-education-in-educational-technology• Joan Ganz Cooney Center: Publicationshttp://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publications/• Fred Rogers Center: ELEhttp://www.fredrogerscenter.org/resources/early-learning-environment/• And we invite you to visit the Hatch Early Learning:Bloghttp://hatchearlylearning.com/resources/blog/
  36. 36. Good places for social connections• LinkedIn: Early Childhood TechnologyNetwork• Twitter: #ecetechchat–Every other Weds. night @ 9 EST• Facebook: NAEYC Technology &Young Children Interest Forum