“While the media hyperventilate about MOOCs and higher education, and K‒12 school districts around the country form technology committees, the nation’s preschoolers have the situation well in hand.” So writes Alex Hernandez in a new article for Education Next, “Toddlers and Tablets,” about how education apps targeted at preschoolers are taking off. He explains the advantages of this sector:
Fairly or not, educators criticize edtech companies for producing uninspired products that ignore learning science and yield meager results. School officials can exacerbate such problems through bureaucratic, irrational purchasing and poor program implementation. Early-childhood app companies have a chance to break through this logjam and lead the entire sector forward.
Because app developers for preschoolers can bypass schools and go directly to families, Hernandez writes, they can respond more quickly to user behavior and make better products faster. They can also experiment with new approaches to learning without having to fight through institutional inertia.
Hernandez, who leads next generation learning investments at the Charter School Growth Fund, predicts that the best new apps will push the boundaries of early childhood development and learning science in at least four areas: executive function, creativity, number sense, and phonemic awareness.
Among the apps and developers mentioned in Alex Hernandez’s article: Duck Duck Moose, DragonBox, Minecraft, Kidaptive, Toca Builders, Sago Mini Bug Builder, DIY.org, DreamBox Learning, ST Math, Endless Alphabet, Learn with Homer, and Hopscotch.