Finding Ways to Put the “Education” Back in Educational Apps

The holiday season is behind us and with it came a flood of newly wrapped gifts, trendy clothes that fit (or did not), and a host of stimulating digital toys and games intricately designed to build our brains for the new world order. As parents, we are overwhelmed—dare we say flummoxed—by the sheer volume of so-called “educational” material that we can...

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The Elements of Good Teaching, in an App

After 27 years teaching kindergarten, Frances Judd is used to noise, so the combination coffee/bike repair shop where we met to talk was no challenge. Judd retired from the classroom recently and now uses her experience as a teacher and toy designer to develop Mrs. Judd’s Games, mobile apps that foster early learning. I interviewed Judd to discuss how she structured her...

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Learning from Television—Kids Do (and so Can Media Developers)

In my prior post, I argued for thinking about a media “diet” rather than focusing only on the amount of time spent with media. Like food, media provide children with content that is both good and bad for healthy development.  Because television remains children’s most-used electronic medium, a good media diet for children includes educational television. By educational television, I mean...

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Three Words for Digital-Age Parents: Access, Balance, and Support

Here’s a given about being the parent of a young child—it’s exhausting. Mix in some unknowns like your child’s seemingly unnatural attraction to glowing screens, and it can be bewildering. What’s the right mix of apps and grass stains? Here’s another given. There is no “correct” answer, and you’re probably too busy to read a 15-page research synopsis, like the Fred...

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Raising Readers in the Digital Age: Under the Hood of Scholastic’s E-book Platform Storia

Scholastic is the world’s largest children’s book publisher, especially familiar to generations of parents and kids via its book clubs and fairs.  Scholastic’s Media Group is also a leading producer of children’s and family film, TV, and interactive media. Its eReading platform, Storia, launched in 2012. I spoke with Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media, about the company’s expertise in fostering...

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A Q&A with Chip Donohue and Roberta Schomburg

A year after the Rogers Center and the National Association for the Education of Young Children
(NAEYC) released Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth through Age 8, we talk with two experts about what excites them about using technology with preschoolers. Rogers Center senior fellow Chip Donohue is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing...

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Tips for Choosing Digital Toys for Your Children

Imagine two dozen football fields packed with stuffed animals, dolls, games, puzzles, craft kits, art supplies, wooden toys, sporting goods, trains, cars, an ocean of plastic, and, yes, lots of tech-enabled toys. I attended the world’s largest toy and hobby show to speak at its Toys 3.0 Business Forum on “Interactive Media as Family Connectors.” I was confident in my examples...

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Beyond Screen Time

Content, context, and the needs of the individual child.  This triad of considerations – drawn from journalist Lisa Guernsey’s 2007 book, “Into the Minds of Babes” – forms the core of the Fred Rogers Center’s Framework for Quality in Children’s Digital Media. Under this rubric, the generic term “screen time” ceases to be a useful measuring stick for young children’s media...

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