Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How Can We Maximize the Potential of Learning Apps?

Let’s dive directly into the world of educational apps. Our survey suggests that the majority — one might even say, the vast majority — of educational apps encourage pursuit of the goals and means of traditional education by digital means. They constitute convenient, neat, sometimes even seductive pathways to accomplish what were already goals in an earlier era: mastering concepts, learning arithmetical operations, identifying geographical locations or historical figures or key biological or chemical or physical processes. We could dub them “digital textbooks” or “lectures” or “pre-programmed educational conversations.” Decades ago, major behaviorist B. F. Skinner called for teaching machines that would automate the traditional classroom, allow students to proceed at their own rate, provide positive feedback on correct answers, and either repeat a missed item or present that item via another pathway. Those sympathetic to Skinner’s brand of psychology and to its associated educational regimen would easily recognize many apps today and would likely nod in approval at their slick, seductive interfaces. more

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