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Vanderbilt Experts Choose Favorite Children's Educational Apps

Vanderbilt Experts Choose Favorite Children's Educational Apps

Georgene Troseth, associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development and graduate fellow Colleen Russo, who conducts research with Troseth and their colleagues selected a few of their favorite children’s education apps for a variety of age groups. They do not officially endorse any particular app and advise parents to choose wisely based on their child’s needs. Reading and writing Endless Alphabet (ages 3 and up) Kids will have fun learning their ABCs and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Nosy Crow eBooks (ages 3 and up) Nosy Crow eBooks offer a wide variety of both fiction and nonfiction interactive reading opportunities for children of all ages. AlphaTots (ages 3 and up) AlphaTots is a good resource for children just learning the alphabet. Another Monster at the End of This Book! (ages 3 and up) This interactive eBook begs players not to turn the page in order to keep Grover and Elmo from running into the monster at the end. Elmo Loves ABCs (ages 3 and up) Players learn the alphabet by tracing letters, watching video clips, coloring, playing hide and seek, working puzzles, singing songs and more. Learn with Homer (ages 3-6) A beautiful map on the main page draws the child into the world of reading. Don’t Let The Pigeon Run This App! (ages 5 and up) Based on the popular book series, children can either listen to a brand new story each time or create their own story by selecting multiple-choice options or speaking into a microphone in a “Mad Libs” format. Book Creator (ages 8 and up) Tapping into design skills and creativity, the child chooses images, places text and selects backgrounds for assembling their own book. Math Eddy’s Number Party! (age 4) This counting game asks the player to help make Eddy the Dog’s birthday party special. Gracie and Friends (ages 4 and up) Gracie and Friends is a series of eight math-focused apps and curricula funded by the National Science Foundation. DragonBox Algebra 5+ (ages 5 and up) DragonBox is an effective way to sneak algebra into play without labeling the problems as “math.” Slice Fractions (ages 6-8) Children learn about fractions by slicing through lava and ice as they take an animated wooly mammoth through different levels of the game. Motion Math: Pizza! (ages 9-11) Problem-solving and math games are intertwined and part of the fun, as the player is responsible for their own pizzeria, from purchasing ingredients to running the store. Computer programming and problem-solving Kodable (ages 5 and up) Kodable introduces children to the basics of computer programming through the FuzzFamily, who have crashed their spaceship on Smeeborg. Move the Turtle (ages 9-11) In this game, children move a turtle to collect a diamond by coding its location. Players are introduced to basic computer programming terms such as procedures, variables and conditional instructions. Preparing for kindergarten Busy Shapes (age 2) Based on Piaget’s sensorimotor stage of development, the game starts with a hole and an object. Cookie Monster’s Challenge (age 3) This game encourages a child to develop their non-academic school readiness skills. The player helps Cookie Monster eat all his cookies while working on skills like self-control and following directions. Beck and Bo (age 3) This beautifully illustrated game follows a brother and sister through everyday life. Players drag and drop objects and characters to create new scenes. Creativity and logic are employed to understand cause and effect. Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter:, on Instagram: and on Facebook: See all Vanderbilt social media at
Vanderbilt Engineering Undergrad is Improving Children’s Educational Apps

Vanderbilt Engineering Undergrad is Improving Children’s Educational Apps

There are more than 100-thousand so-called educational apps in the I-Tunes store alone—but there’s little research on how kids learn best on a touchscreen. Now children’s researchers at Vanderbilt are teaming up with a very talented Engineering undergrad-- to help the youngest learners benefit from this advancing technology. ((PKG script)) TWO AND A HALF YEAR OLD NYLAH IS DOING WHAT SO MANY KIDS LOVE… PLAYING ON A TOUCHSCREEN! NYLAH’S MOM “In our house we really embrace technology.” BUT IS ALL THAT TAPPING AND SWIPING HELPING NYLAH LEARN? “As soon as we get new technology coming out, children’s media is the first to jump on that technology THE KIND OF INTERACTION IS KEY. Georgene Troseth “People who are designing apps without really knowing children’s thinking they might do something because it’s cool-looking or because it’s easy or whatever.” Colleen Russo, Vanderbilt Graduate Student “So we want to look at what kinds of interactions are helpful for children’s learning.” SUCH AS DO KIDS RESPOND BETTER TO TAPPING, SWIPING OR SWIPING WITH SOUND EFFECTS. Russo “We’re lucky that we’re researching a field that has an immediate impact on children’s learning.” THESE VANDERBILT RESEARCHERS ARE USING THE PROGRAMMING TALENT OF AN ENGINEERING UNDERGRAD TO MAKE THEIR RESEARCH REALITY. “I’m really excited to analyze it and see what we’re getting” COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR NOLAN SMITH BUILT A CHILDREN’S APP FROM SCRATCH— Nolan Smith, computer science major, Indianapolis, IN “When I saw what they were using already that was more motivation to want to help them because it was like these are such easy problems for computers to solve.” Russo “The kids love it first of all because it actually feels like a real app WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT THIS APP-- IT CAN ALSO COLLECT RESEARCH DATA. Russo “Manually counting each and every tap and it was such a tedious process and Nolan chuckled when he heard that we were doing this and said ‘I can design an app that can actually count how many times a child interacts with it.” IT HAS BEEN A LABOR OF LOVE FOR BOTH SIDES. Nolan Smith, “I had to think if I was a child, or if I was one of these toddlers that was playing this Russo “He has been through so many versions of this app to get it exactly where we are now and he has never once seemed impatient or bothered by it or discouraged.” RUSSO IS NOW TESTING THE APP WITH CHILDREN— Nolan “It feels really cool to watch something I made be interacted with. Yah, it was rewarding, really cool to see that.” TROSETH SAYS THIS TRANS-INSTITUTIONAL COLLABORATION IS A WIN-WIN. Troseth “Nolan knows a lot more now about child development than most of his colleagues in engineering.” A COLLABORATION THAT COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERNECE IN THE FUTURE OF EDUCATIONAL APPS. Nolan “I got pretty lucky to be able to do this, 5:03 “This type of collaboration is like the reason Vanderbilt is so great.” FOR VUCAST, I’M AMY WOLF. Tag: NOLAN ALREADY HAS A GREAT JOB LINED UP AFTER COMMENCEMENT—WITH MICROSOFT! Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter:, on Instagram: and on Facebook: See all Vanderbilt social media at
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