Friday, February 10, 2017

Top 5 tips when designing educational apps for kids

Having worked for a little bit in creating apps for kids and being a teacher myself, there's a few rough and ready things you should know about your target audience.
Of course every classroom and every mind is different, but here are some general tenets that I've employed to help communicate and share ideas with younger users.

I've outlined the top 5 that I constantly use when designing for kids, however they also apply to teaching in the classroom.

Top 5 things to remember when designing apps for kids

1. For the love of story! 

It's true that many people learn in different ways, but almost everyone wants a good story.
Use anecdotes, especially funny ones. It makes even the hardest lesson easier to swallow.

2. Repetition and context. 

There's a phrase "test early and test often". I can't stress this enough. Developers know this well. Educators are all too familiar with this.  However, don't make the mistake of adhering to simple memory tests.

Critical thinking is important in successfully applying skills outside of what they're originally used for, and reinforcing those skills in a cumulative way.

This helps transition short term function to long term ones.

3. Empathy. 

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest self discipliners!
Whenever possible, create content that generates and then expands a kid's sense of empathy. This also helps engagement and retention.

4. Call out growth moments. 

Underline and reward achievements that show a student has learned or improved.
The idea of brilliance and natural talent has it's place, but should be balanced with the idea of learning from our mistakes.
That way students aren't afraid of making them, helping them overcome fear of failure.

5. Don't impress your will!!! 

Kinda self explanatory. Yet it's so easy to get caught up in what we think is best. As a teacher and developer, you should constantly be walking in others' shoes.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below.


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