Wondering whether or not iPad (or other tablet) apps are good learning tools for your child? Many children, whether they have difficulty with their communication skills or not, love to spend time ‘playing’ with a variety of ‘apps’ on electronic devices.
Are table apps a good way to for them to learn? The answer is yes, as long as you’re careful about which apps you’re choosing (and how much time they are spending using them). There are many apps that are designed to provide excellent learning opportunities for children. The key is to select just the right app for your child’s needs.
How do I know which app is best for my child?
Here are some very important things to look for when choosing a learning app for your child who has difficulty communicating.
- Speak to your child’s Speech-language Pathologist (S-LP) to see which apps she recommends and what types of activities would be beneficial for your child to practice.
- Ensure the app is age appropriate (i.e. are you looking for an app for a 3-year old or a 9-year old?). Different types of apps appeal to and are created for different age groups.
- Is the app current and up-to-date? Check the release date and the update status. Updates must occur every 4-6 months to ensure that there’s always new content.
- Make sure that there is a full description of the app and that you review it. By following this step, you will get a clearer idea of the value of the app to your child. You could also show the description to your child’s S-LP to get her opinion of its value to your child.
- Ensure that the app has a website and support links. This way, if you have problems or questions, you have somewhere to go. As well, if you’re purchasing the app, you’ll want to know there is technical support available.
- Look at the screenshots.
- Do they give you a good idea of what the app does? The type of activities it offers?
- Are the pictures clear?
- Is there lots of color?
- Check the ‘Whats New’ list associated with your app updates. For example when buying an App on developing vocabulary notice if they added additional vocabulary words in the last six months (e.g. are there more words with ‘s’ in the app?)
- Read the reviews and ratings, which can be found below the screen shots or in the ‘reviews’ tab. Read the most recent reviews, and look at the star rating. Read older reviews to see if any issues were addressed in updates
Here are some websites that test and review apps. They’re a good place to start. www.lear.org, www.momswithapps.com and www.crazymikesapps.com
These are some of our favourite apps for you to download and use to keep the holiday-time busy and fun.