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Avoid Distraction in the App Store

by Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine

Slate

Article excerpt

Confusion and Disarray in the Education Aisle of the App Stores

Since developers choose where to put their wares, many of them select the “education” section with little evidence that their products are educational. Their products might be better labeled as entertainment, but because they include characters that sing the ABCs, they reside in that borderland yet to be defined.

Our take

Education From the App Store? Buyer Beware

In an app-store study of Apple, Google and Amazon, Sarah Vaala and Anna Ly from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop analyzed 200 apps designed for children up to 8 years old, focusing on the most popular apps in the “education” sections of these stores. Their findings show that few apps are labeled effectively, or accurately, enough to aid parents in making informed selections. A proliferation of “education” apps also challenge educators to choose those that are some combination of relevant, engaging and, most importantly, educationally sound; what criteria should you use when making app adoption decisions?

Educators need to use the same discernment when selecting apps as they have traditionally used when selecting textbooks and other learning tools. In the digital environment it can be easy to be lured by flashy new options, but the ability of these products to meet learning outcomes needs to stay front and center as a key consideration.

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