What's on Your iPhone? (For Your Kids...) | KCET
What's on Your iPhone? (For Your Kids...)
Last November, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released a report titled Learning: Is There an App for That? which looks at the ways in which families are using mobile devices with their kids. The study expands on a 2009 report titled Pockets of Potential, which shows that exposure to educational media - like the terrific Super Why iPhone app - through mobile devices at a young age can have a positive effect on kids and their learning as they enter school.
In the newer report, the authors, Cynthia Chiong and Carly Shuler, identify the "pass-back effect," in which young children play with iPhones and other devices with touch screens that belong to their parents. Often this is in grocery stores, at bus stops or in restaurants, and the authors highlight the potential for this activity to promote "anytime, anywhere learning," as well as its ability to impact kids who may not have access to computers, helping level the technology playing field somewhat. They highlight many drawbacks as well, but overall, champion wise use of mobiles with kids.
With this in mind, I asked a few LA-based parents who also work in some capacity with new media, what their kids use on mobile phones.
Daniel says his daughter likes the phone's camera feature best, but also uses SketchBook. "She also gets a kick out of Google Earth, where she especially likes to find Hawaii and Brazil."
Susana Ruiz, who created the critically acclaimed social activist game Darfur Is Dying, offered this amazing list of apps favored by her 6-year-old:
"¢ Robo Logic - engages and teaches simple fundamentals of programming via the act of controlling a robot.
"¢ Charadium - a networked draw-and-guess game. We were all completely hooked on this for several weeks. I think it had an impact on my son's drawing/visual communication abilities.
"¢ Electric Box - nicely designed puzzle-like game where you're also learning about sources, types and flows of energy/power.
"¢ Jelly Car 2 - my son doesn't use this now, but was totally into it for a long time. It's very well designed and has a great Level Editor that allowed him to really be creative and make his own levels, which in turn, helped him conceptualize game design itself.
"¢ Puppet Pals - allows you to put together a whole show. Choose actors, backdrops, add movement and sound and it records it for playback. Good storytelling tool.
"¢ StopMotion Recorder - stop motion animation creation app. In one short afternoon, he was creating quite great stop motion videos, but more importantly, it taught him the concept of stop motion which led to all kinds of ideas.
Susana says that, based on the fact that she and her partner are artists and filmmakers, they try to expose their son to art-oriented games and activities. These include abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz, a kinetic alphabet artwork, Yellowtail by Golan Levin, Erik Loyer's work and Kometen by Erik Svedäng.
For Erik Loyer, who has contributed to innovations in app design himself, bringing new gestures and interactivity to storytelling, the apps favored by his kids include
In the conclusion to Learning: Is There an App for That?, the authors note that "trends suggest that preschool- and elementary-age kids may soon be using smart mobile devices seamlessly - first at home and then perhaps in the classroom of 2015 as a normal part of growing up in a digital age." They call on developers to create smart, compelling and innovative apps that will support learning. Many of the apps noted above move in this direction, but by using drawing, design, music and more poetic approaches that spark curiosity, which in turn may contribute to learning.