Learning Apps For Kids

Pocket solutions for learning: What PBS kids research has found about cell phone applications and behaviors using mobile devices.

This article covers the release that PBS KIDS recently announced initial results of a study on the educational benefits of mobile gaming apps in conjunction with the 7th Annual Games for Change Festival (G4C) in New York. It was found that vocabulary improved as much as 31 percent in children ages three to seven who played with the popular MARTHA SPEAKS app. Such findings are particularly relevant as smart phones and mobile devices have become increasingly popular among families. According to a recent Nielsen study, smart phone usage is 12% higher in households with children than other households. Another relevant statistic is that 60% of the top 25 paid educational apps target preschoolers.

Comments from the PBS team regarding these results include:

“This research is important in helping to better understand and guide the development of new apps that improve the value of children’s screen time with significant educational outcomes.”–Lesli Rotenberg, SVP, Children’s Media, PBS.
“These initial study results, and the incredible interest in our apps from parents and kids, indicate that mobile learning is a new and crucial educational frontier, and we will continue to lead the charge in delivering innovative educational tools that parents have come to expect from PBS.”Jason Seiken, SVP Interactive, Product Development, and Innovation, PBS.

I was able to attend a presentation at G4C that went with the slide show above which represents findings of both parental behaviors handing off mobile devices to their kids, which is being called the ‘pass back’ effect as well as how their mobile apps measure up as learning tools. (From slide 25 forward the focus is about the specific mobile app research) The SuperWHY and Martha Speaks app’s were involved in the most recent study.