Daily Bulletin


Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Kevin Larkin, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education, Griffith University
image

With Christmas approaching, many of us with preschool children or grandchildren will be considering the purchase of apps for our devices.

We are often portrayed in the media as “bad parents or grandparents” for purchasing apps for young family members. But in fact, appropriate educational apps can prepare children for life in an increasingly digital world where the availability of apps is growing every year.

Not all screen time is equal

Concerns about the negative effects of technology are not new. In the past, television, VCR’s, computers, laptops and PlayStation have each been labelled as potential destroyers of the natural order of childhood through media overuse. But the easy availability of apps has made this topic a hot button issue.

The main concern is “screen time”. Sedentary use of digital devices, like TV, computers and iPads, is associated with childhood obesity, poor verbal communication, damaging eyesight, the death of nursery rhymes, or digital addiction.

Apps are often labelled as “digital babysitters”, used to give parents and grandparents a bit of adult time to prepare dinner or answer work emails or even sleep in.

While we acknowledge that extensive and unsupervised use of digital technologies may be harmful, not all screen time is equal in terms of outcomes for children.

For most children in the developed world, apps are a normal, everyday part of their life and will remain so. Apps are not new to young children. They interact with them in different ways to their parents and grandparents. Children use apps as a form of digital play.

Government investment in app development

The Australian government has invested in developing apps for children in the year before formal schooling under the supervision of a degree-qualified early learning teacher in a preschool service.

These apps are aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework. So, activities are underpinned by nationally-agreed educational policy for young children.

In 2017, the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program was expanded across Australia with A$15.7 million to include more than 1,800 preschools and 61,000 children. It supports the development of languages other than English through seven apps in seven languages. An independent report pointed to overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The Australian government is also providing A$5.6 million over three years to pilot the development and use of apps to inspire young children in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program called [Early Learning STEM Australia ](https://www.education.gov.au/nisa-early-learning-initiatives (ELSA) will be piloted in 100 preschool centres across Australia in 2018.

Given this substantial investment, as well as the expanding use of apps by preschool children, parents and grandparents should consider how they might maximise the benefits associated with app use by selecting apps appropriate for young children.

Good apps for young children

Over the past five years, as part of a range of university research projects, we have explored hundreds of children’s apps. While it’s accurate to say many apps for young children are very poor and model inappropriate levels of violence, stereotyping, or mindless activity, some apps may be an appropriate addition in the virtual Christmas stocking this year.

There are over 260,000 “educational” apps available at the app store alone. So, to save valuable Christmas shopping time we suggest ten appropriate apps for preschool children:

  1. Starfall ABC helps children develop reading skills

  2. TouchCounts lets children use their fingers, eyes and ears to learn to count, add and subtract

  3. Play School Play Time encourages kids to play with time while celebrating Humpty’s birthday

  4. Play-Doh Touch allows children to shape a creation with Play-Doh, scan it into virtual reality with the app and build a world of their own creation

  5. LOOPIMAL is an app to help young children learn about making music

  6. Shape Gurus allows children to solve puzzles with shapes and colours as they make their way through an interactive story

  7. uKloo is a fun seek-and-find literacy game for preschool children

  8. Code Karts introduces pre-coding to children from the age of four through a series of logical puzzles presented in the form of a raceway

  9. Crazy Gears is a digital puzzle game, designed with a real mechanical engine and with children’s critical thinking skills in mind

  10. Go Noodle gets kids moving with screen-time, and has simple mindfulness and yoga activities to help kids relax.

We looked for apps that form a bridge between digital and non-digital play and encourage children to develop literacy, numeracy, and STEM understanding in playful ways.

Apps then become digital toys to be used by children to design, create, build, investigate and imagine as they play.

In the digital world we live in now, the decision for parents and grandparents is not the “should or should not” of app use, but rather “how”.

Authors: Kevin Larkin, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education, Griffith University

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-digital-apps-can-be-good-gifts-for-young-family-members-85893

Writers Wanted

Coronavirus disrupted my kid's first year of school. Will that set them back?

arrow_forward

What are manufactured home estates and why are they so problematic for retirees?

arrow_forward

Things to Ask To Your Removalists

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Ten tips for landing a freelance transcription job

Transcription jobs are known to be popular in the field of freelancing. They offer fantastic job opportunities to a lot of people, but there are some scammers who wait to cheat the freelancers. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How To Remove Rubbish More Effectively

It can be a big task to remove household rubbish. The hardest part is finding the best way to get rid of your junk. It can be very overwhelming to know exactly where to start with so many option...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Pass Skills Certifications Tests

Developing the right set of skills is valuable not only to your career, but for life in general. You can get certified in these skills through obtaining a license. Without a certified license, y...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion