How Can Apps Cultivate Creativity in Young Children?

drawtell-300x225Play is the work of young children. Developmental psychologists tell us that creative play helps children learn to understand themselves and other people, the world and their place in it.

And creativity is a skill that’s going to matter even more as today’s young children enter the adult world. Experts say creative thinking is going to be the most important leadership ability tomorrow’s employers will be looking for.  Leaders of the future will need to be able to solve problems, innovate, and work collaboratively. They’ll need to be flexible, creative thinkers. Today’s educators are looking for new ways to help children develop this creative muscle.

Can today’s new digital tools help? Can apps help children develop these creative skills? How would you use them to nurture their creative spirit?

Welcome to our second Quality Conversation post in a series, designed to facilitate discussions among parents, educators, researchers, and media creators about what constitutes “quality” in digital media for young children through age 8.

We want to first thank you for the participation on our previous post: Are All E-Books Created Equal? It was indeed a quality conversation, and it confirmed the Fred Rogers Center quality construct and gave us further insights into the concrete aspects of what constitutes quality for parents, educators, researchers, and media creators.  We are grateful for your participation and look forward to summarizing comments from all three posts.

In this post, we wanted to discuss Draw and Tell by Duck Duck Moose, designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Duck Duck Moose has generously agreed to let us feature their app and provide a video showing the product. The Fred Rogers Center does not endorse any specific products other than our own (read more on our About Us page). We offer this example for discussion purposes only.

One characteristic of quality presented in the Framework for Quality in Digital Media for Young Children is that context matters. Comments from the previous Quality Conversation confirmed this notion. Quality ratings depended on who you are and in what context you are using the digital tool. This is why our second Quality Conversation asks a different question: How useful is this app to you as a parent, educator, researcher, or media creator? Specifically, how useful is this app for fostering creativity?

Here’s how you can participate. First, please watch the video of Draw and Tell below, then rate the usefulness of this product to you as a parent, educator, researcher, and media maker on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not useful at all and 5 being extremely useful.

Most importantly, then tell us why you gave that rating in the comments and how you would use Draw and Tell, on the basis of your perspective as a parent, educator, researcher, or media maker. And be sure to identify which hat you’re wearing when you comment.

And join the conversation on social media. Please do share this post with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to comment. Thanks for participating!

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