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Parent Guide to Getting the Most out of Educational Apps

Among the major app stores (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon) there are tens of thousands of educational apps available. From learning to read to learning addition and subtraction there is an abundant supply of educational apps. However, given this fact, this poses quite a challenge selecting the right apps for your children. While there are lots of high quality apps, there are also a lot of lower quality apps that suffer from low quality, little educational value, and interface. Before you purchase an app it’s important to know the following so that you can select an app that best fits your child’s educational and developmental needs. Not all children’s apps are the same. One of the questions you should ask yourself is does the app have any educational value? In a previous article called “A Proposed Children's App Rating System” we organized children’s apps into 5 categories:

Not all children’s apps are the same. One of the questions you should ask yourself is does the app have any educational value? In a previous article called “A Proposed Children's App Rating System” we organized children’s apps into 5 categories:Educational Game - High to moderate educational value/teaches specific academic skill(s)    Educational Activity - High to moderate educational value/teaches specific academic skill(s), but not a game    Interactive Book - A story/book with interactive features such as animation, sound etc.    Digital Toy - Encourages play and discovery with digital objects    Game - Strictly for play with no educational valueIt’s important to know what kind of app you are purchasing.

Educational Game - High to moderate educational value/teaches specific academic skill(s)
Educational Activity - High to moderate educational value/teaches specific academic skill(s), but not a game
Interactive Book - A story/book with interactive features such as animation, sound etc.    
Digital Toy - Encourages play and discovery with digital objects    
Game - Strictly for play with no educational value.

Here are some addition questions you should consider:

What are your goals?

Are you looking for an app that will keep your child busy or entertained? Do you want your child to learn something (math, social studies, writing etc.)? When deciding on apps make sure you have a clear goal for how the app can benefit your child’s educational needs.

Independent or Together?
Some apps are intended for the child and parent to work together while others encourage children to work independently. In a typical case you will probably have a mix of apps where the child works in both scenarios. Interactive books are good for parent child interaction while educational games may work well with children who feel comfortable working independently. The age and development maturity of your child is also a factor in determining whether the child can work independently

Are there additional hands-on or kinesthetic activities that come along with or are suggested for the app?
Most teachers understand that mobile tablets are one of several tools to help students learn. As such many of our apps come with companion printable worksheets as well as suggested activities via our Pinterest board. We believe that learning takes place over the course of many modalities. For example, a child may have an interactive experience on a tablet with an app and complete worksheets and a hand-on activity that relate to the app. This beneficial approach provides a holistic experience and allows the child/student to experience the subject matter in different settings.

What the best place to view an app?
Once you’ve download an app pick a place where you and/or the child are free of distractions. In order to get the most out of your newly downloaded app it’s important to devote distraction free time to your new investment.

Quackenworth specializes in mobile games and educational web products. Our mission is to develop fun products that teachers and parents can use to educate and enrich the lives of children and young adults.
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