Apps That Actually Help Kids Learn

Monday, October 19, 2015

Annie Murphy Paul - The Brilliant Blog

Last week, I moderated a panel discussion at Sesame Street Workshop (yes, there were Muppets everywhere!)—an event that was part of the launch of a wonderful new book called Tap, Click, Read. Written by Michael Levine of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (Cooney is the person who created Sesame Street) and Lisa Guernsey of the think tank New America, Tap, Click, Read is full of fresh ideas and practical suggestions about how to make sure that our kids’ technology use is supporting literacy and other kinds of learning.

One of the most interesting chapters in Tap, Click, Read examines the quality of apps that are marketed as “educational.” Guernsey and Levine find that there’s not much overlap between apps that are popular—those that are frequently downloaded by parents and educators—and apps that have been rated by experts as high-quality educational resources.

The authors did identify eleven apps that were both well-liked by parents and educators, and genuinely educational. Here’s a list of these eleven apps:

1. Agnitus Personal Learning Program

2. Busytown Mysteries

3. Elmo Loves ABCs

4. Endless Alphabet

5. Endless Reader

6. Letter School

7. Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure

8. Monkey Word School Adventure

9. Reading Rainbow

10. Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer

11. Starfall Learn to Read

Guernsey and Levine also identify several objective and reliable sources of information about apps:

1. Common Sense Media

2. Digital Storytime

3. Graphite

4. Moms with Apps

5. Parents’ Choice

6. Teachers with Apps

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