We’re thrilled to announce the third installment of our Gracie & Friends apps, Treasure Bubbles, has been released and is now available to download for the iPad from the Apple App Store!
After four years of National Science Foundation-funded research and development, our team launched the first of the eight game apps last week! Our iPad app Gracie & Friends Birthday Café is now available in the Apple App Store!
The app is part of Early Math with Gracie & Friends™— our new, mobile app series and math curriculum supplement developed by the First 8 Studios at WGBH team under the Next Generation Preschool Math project. A randomized control trial demonstrated significant learning gains among the children who used the apps.
The hands-on activities are currently available at the First 8 Studios at WGBH Web site! The remaining apps will be released in the Apple App Store over the upcoming months, and the digital Teacher’s Guide will be released in early 2015.
Our own Christine Zanchi, Executive Producer, says, “The Gracie & Friends apps are laying the research foundation for how to use technology with young children. Our research and preschool partners, the teachers and children, are integral to this process. As this and other projects demonstrate, public media has an incredible role to play in setting the bar for mobile learning.”
We’re so excited to share our work with the world!
As we work hard to put the final touches on the subitizing app suite, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on why we do what we do, and why all of the hard work is worth it.
What happens when a parent gives their child unlimited access to an iPad? We’ve heard time and time again that children’s screen time should be limited, that kids left to their own devices will sit for hours in front of the TV, computer, or mobile device, slowly turning their brain to mush. Wouldn’t they?
Journalist Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic wanted to find out for herself whether this fear is based in reality or not. In a conversation with NPR’s Weekend Edition host Rachel Martin, Rosin described how she placed an iPad in her four-year-old’s toy box and regarded it as though it was just another toy car or action figure. Her son was able to choose for himself which toy he wanted to play with, and for how long. What Rosin found was that after the first week and half, during which her son was indeed glued to the tablet, the iPad shockingly “fell out of rotation like any other game.” No parental-enforced limits on screen time, no mushy brains.
What do you think? Would you consider putting the iPad in the toy box and treating it like just another toy, or would you prefer to monitor your child’s screen time?
An integral part of our development process is taking our games out to preschools to test with kids. The kids show us how they use the iPads, which inspires us to think about what’s still needed. Check out some of the highlights from the testing of our games!
Concordia University professor Richard Schmid co-authored a study (published in the Review of Educational Research journal) to answer the question: “Does computer technology have a positive overall effect on learning in the classroom?”
The study showed, in short, that often there were positive impacts but that sometimes there were negative impacts. The study’s authors are now performing a follow-up study, looking into under what circumstances the technology’s effects are positive.
Schmid states, “Where technology does have a positive impact is when it actively engages students, when it’s used as a communication tool, when it’s used for things like simulations or games that enable students to actively manipulate the environment.”
Looks like NGPM is off to a good start. Looking forward to more research and to the research results on the games and manipulatives from NGPM.