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  • kolak_norgate_monaghan_taylor_jcm

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Developing evaluation tools for assessing the educational potential of apps for preschool children in the UK

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Children and Media
Issue number3
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)410-430
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date9/12/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Selecting high quality apps can be challenging for caregivers and educators. We here develop tools evaluating educational potential of apps for preschool children. In Study 1, we developed two complementary evaluation tools tailored to different audiences. We grounded them in developmental theory and linked them to research on children’s experience with digital media. In Study 2 we applied these tools to a wide sample of apps in order to illustrate their use and to address the role of cost in quality of educational apps. There are concerns that a social disadvantage may lead to a digital disadvantage, an “app gap”. We thus applied our tools to the most popular free (N=19) and paid (N=24) apps targeting preschoolers. We found that the “app gap” associated with cost is only related to some aesthetic features of apps rather than any observable educational advantage proffered by paid apps. Our study adds a novel contribution to the research on children’s apps by developing tools to be used across a wide range of audiences, providing the first description of the quantity of app design features during app use and evaluating the educational potential of free and paid apps.