Analyzing the Design, Regulation, and Evaluation of “Educational” Apps for Children: Present Challenges and Possible Solutions.
Louison, Noriko L.
- Today, 80,000 apps available for purchase on the App Store are marketed under the “Education” category, and the majority of these apps are marketed to children. Parents, policy-makers, and practitioners wonder what this influx of “educational” apps means for children’s learning. Is there really any value in these educational apps? How can we design interactive media experiences for all children ... read morefrom diverse social and economic backgrounds? Who is to say what makes something educational? This thesis attempts to answer these questions by examining educational apps from the perspectives of design, regulation, and evaluation. First, I explore the challenges facing app developers today and strategies they might use in order to design effective educational apps. Second, I explain why regulating the market of educational apps has proven to be difficult, and suggest several solutions in order to ensure quality while not hampering free-markets. Third, I turn to evaluation, and discuss how the term “educational” in itself raises differences of opinion on what is best for children, and how we might come to a new, more inclusive understanding of this term. To conclude, I discuss how issues of socio-cultural diversity and economic inequality, debates surrounding the construction of childhood, and challenges of putting theory into practice influence all three domains of the educational app industry and how we can effectively address each concern.read less