They have become an integral part of education. Thousands of them have been described, are recommended, or discouraged. They are used everywhere in education. Are all those apps good and useful in education practice? Definitely not! Fortunately, there are very good apps and also just good apps.
However, there are many mediocre to bad apps that cannot be answered. How do you know which product is good or bad? To this end, evaluation studies are conducted by experts who not only know something about how to write computer programs but above all what learning is.
They give their opinion and a good article about it is that of Hirsh Pasek and his colleagues. This article was published earlier this year under the title “Putting Education in Educational Apps: Lessons from the Science of Learning”. In this article, Judith Keizer and I summarize four key points. How to apply learning sciences in an educational app.
Children learn best when the following requirements are met:
* You are actively involved (“hands-on”). Just touching the screen or clicking on the figure requires little mental effort. In order for cognitively active learning to take place, children need to think more positively about their behavior. For example, swipe your character elsewhere to navigate.
* You will be involved in the learning process as little as possible. Sounds and clips are useful, for example, as rewards when you meet your learning goals. However, if you do not need them, it is best to avoid them as much as possible. They distract from the learning process.
* The app makes sense. This means that the app matches your child’s personal history or something the child knows from their environment. For example, if a child does not know the letters of the alphabet, the “ABC song” is just a song with no deeper meaning.
* Social interaction takes place. Supports learning. This can happen, for example, because you need to play or resolve issues that require communication via Skype or SMS in sequence. For example, there is a “parasocial” interaction with the app’s character.