Tonight: Join us to celebrate Education Week’s 2021 Leaders To Learn From. Register to attend the gala.
Opinion
Education Opinion

5 Common Questions People Have About Learning Apps

By Matthew Lynch — April 20, 2018 2 min read

Learning apps have been steadily rising in popularity and availability. Many parents are excited at the prospect of taking a more active role in shaping their child’s education. Selecting the right educational program can help a child to significantly expand their current knowledge, even if their parent doesn’t have a background in teaching. After all, these learning apps are intended to engage a variety of learning styles so every child can benefit.

However, many parents become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of educational apps available. How do you decide which ones are right for your child? Asking yourself these five common questions may help to guide your decision-making process.

What is the app actually teaching?

As a parent, it’s important to know exactly what your child is supposed to learn from an app. If the description is vague and you can’t clearly see the connections, it may be intended more for recreation than education. Look at the skills it is intended to teach your child and decide if those fit into an age-appropriate academic system. You should clearly be able to identify the key concepts and ideas that your child will be learning when they play with any learning app.

Is this app age-appropriate?

It’s no secret that the majority of students who are using learning apps are in high school. This fact alone means that many manufacturers will gear their content and formatting to an older generation. Particularly when selecting a learning app for younger children, you need to ensure that the content and formatting is appropriate for their age group.

Could you purchase a similar app at a lower price?

While many of the learning apps will be free or inexpensive, some may cost more than you’re willing to spend. Always take the time to investigate whether you could get a similar learning app at a lower price. Be sure to take time to compare the reviews, content, and formatting to ensure that the cheaper version is indeed comparable.

Will this app help to bolster their creativity?

One of the most common issues with educational apps is their propensity to promote consumerism over creativity. Parents and teachers should both select apps that favor the latter. Look for versions that don’t prompt children to pay money for extra coins, hidden levels, and bonus tries. These apps should be actively encouraging your student to create and work hard on their ideas instead of receiving instant gratification by purchasing items. This instant gratification won’t serve them well academically or in life.

What are your child’s academic needs?

It doesn’t make sense to give your child a learning app that favors vocabulary when they are currently failing math. Selecting the right learning app based on their current academic needs is important. While they can certainly use educational programs to boost their strong areas as well, these apps are better designed to help strengthen a weak point. You should be looking for games and programs that have content geared toward your child’s academic weak points.

Be sure that you’re making a wise choice before you download any learning apps for your child. This framework of common questions can help guide your decisions and improve your child’s learning experience. Take advantage of everything technology has to offer in today’s modern age, but practice applying it wisely by asking questions and evaluating it beforehand.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.