Apps are the future, and they are undoubtedly taking the world by storm. As consumers of these dynamic gems of content that are so easily available to us, it can get pretty exciting whenever a new app comes out. The stats don’t lie, Americans daily time on their mobile devices has increased 575% percent in the last three years! What this means is that we not only use apps for our entertainment, but they are actually fast becoming an extension of our lives, and are a huge part of our day-to-day activities. With the overwhelming amount of apps available in the market, however, it also means that with the good comes the bad. Today, we want to touch on how important it is for parents especially – to ensure your kids are exposed to the right type of educational apps, and don’t fall into traps that can do more harm than good. What do we mean? Fake apps! Yes, they’re a fairly new problem, but one that needs to be kept in check.
Why The Concern?
This concern is very valid, and definitely warranted. Firstly, the developers behind fake apps tend to make magnificent claims about their products, as is the case with typical marketing ideals. However, these are not photo-sharing apps or the like, these are apps that are targeted to a group that seeks improvement or enhancement of their skills, and give the impression that using these products will improve brain power or cognitive abilities. This is a bigger deal than an app that promises to filter out pimples in selfies, in that these are practically inferring that their products will help people see an increase in their intelligence, or mental capabilities.
Fake apps have become such a concern that app stores are finding ways to ensure customers are able to be compensated if something they’ve purchased turns out to be misleading. Recently, Microsoft made an effort to ensure any app developers that want to advertise their content have to go through a comprehensive app certification process, in which they are required to ensure their products are marketed accurately. Those who fail to comply risk having their apps removed from Microsoft’s store. This at least ensures a sense of accountability on the part of the developers.
The Myth of Brain Training
People — adults and kids alike, will always be on the lookout for apps that are simple, dynamic and useful. The very notion that we can use our technology to help improve ourselves is one that is captivating, and certainly inspiring. Still, the concept of “educational” apps is one that needs to be researched thoroughly before claims are made that purport to greatly make a difference in people’s lives. In fact, just recently, a well known brain-training app has been made to pay a settlement in millions following a Federal Trade Commission inquiry that found the company deceiving users into buying the app with claims that it would help them improve at work and school by delaying cognitive deterioration.
While the concept behind such apps probably comes from well-meaning ideals, the long-term positive impact of using such products is highly debatable. It is common-place for these games to be based around activities pertaining to memory, sequence, speed or categorization. Scientific literature however, does not support the notion that such games can indeed change brain power for the better. In fact, studies have found that physical exercise is far more superior as an asset to brain power, than brain training apps! So as we see from this, these games and apps can be used as tools to pass the time or just for leisure, but don’t put too much stock into them, especially if you are a parent on the look out for new content for your child.
Zapping Into The Future
Zap Zap Math also fits into the category of educational apps, but we’re striving to keep our content dynamic and functional, particularly so our users are able to achieve a sense of accomplishment from the app that can translate into long term success in math, or an increase in cognitive abilities. We like to incorporate actual math practice worksheets into our content, allowing students to use concepts such as repetitive learning within a game-oriented atmosphere, to help motivate them. To keep things fresh, we update our app with new games every two weeks. With our app, kids can only progress to higher levels once they have conquered a particular module or “topic”. If they are struggling with a particular level, they will have to keep playing the games with more targeted practice in order to level up.
In addition to this, we also try to keep Zap Zap Math aligned to the Common Core Standards, as well as keep tabs on current teaching methods to see how we can improve the app. We’ve included ways for parents and teachers to be somewhat more involved in their kid’s game-play, with reports that can be emailed to track their progress. All these little factors add up to how we believe our app can make a difference in how a child learns and retains information pertaining to math.
Setting Kids On The Right Path
As parents, it is natural to want the best for our kids, especially when it comes to products that claim to improve their brain power! As such, it would be prudent to always check out app reviews, and scientific papers online to see if the app your child is using is indeed beneficial. Luckily there are many resources available online for parents to do so. Besides checking out the various app-stores for reviews by other reviews, there are also third party websites that offer reviews on such apps. Examples include Common Sense Media and Educational Gaming Reviews. Most of these sites also allow for external reviews by users, which is another great way to gauge the effectiveness of these apps.
In a world where apps rule, we can only keep our eyes open to ensure that the products we use and recommend for educational purposes actually are useful and will help our kids in the long run.
Want to get your kids hooked on a fun and effective math app? Download Zap Zap Math today!