It’s interactive, then it must be a better educational tool

Vocab Tech For Toddlers Encourages ‘Anytime, Anywhere Learning’
December 31, 2014

“Kids tend to consume across platforms and across settings,” Levine says. “They’re on the couch, they’re in the living room …

Sesame Workshop is building on the popularity of characters like Big Bird as well as 45 years of educational research to create new digital products for young children. Testing is a key step in the development of these products.

… the researchers were observing how each child interacts with the mechanics of the game.

“People believe just because it’s interactive it must be a better educational tool,” Truglio says. “You can put pretty crappy content on a digital device.”

Truglio says her team asked educators what was most needed to help children develop literacy skills. The answer was: vocabulary.

“We’re trying to teach children words in order to build their core knowledge skills,” Truglio says. “Children know ‘bus’ and they know ‘car’ and they know ‘boat.’ But do they know the superordinate word called ‘transportation’?”

this game introduce kids to large concepts, but it also requires an adult to help the child — a decision aimed at getting parents to interact with their children instead of using the device as a baby sitter.

Second part:
A study done in 1995 indicated that children from higher-income families heard 30 million more words at home by the age of 4 than children from low-income homes. This has become known as the 30 million-word gap.
“We found a total of 33 books for children in a community of 10,000 children. … Thirty-three books in all of the neighborhood,” she says. By comparison, there were 300 books per child in the city’s affluent communities. Neuman recently updated her study. She hasn’t yet released those findings but says not much has changed.

Gamification engages those who need it most

How to Engage the Students Who Need It Most: Gamification
Chris Aviles
Dec 20, 2014

Gamification is about increasing motivation and engagement.
Once you have a kid’s attention, it is still up to the teacher to deliver a solid, meaningful lesson.

Your best, brightest student may enjoy learning in a gamified class, but they don’t need it. Those students will be successful no matter what system they’re in.


School Readiness and Self-Regulation (2014)

School Readiness and Self-Regulation: A Developmental Psychobiological Approach.
Annu Rev Psychol. 2014 Aug 21.
Blair C, Raver CC.

Research on the development of self-regulation in young children provides a unifying framework for the study of school readiness. Self-regulation abilities allow for engagement in learning activities and provide the foundation for adjustment to school.
A focus on readiness as self-regulation does not supplant interest in the development of acquired ability, such as early knowledge of letters and numbers; it sets the stage for it.

In this article, we review research and theory indicating that self-regulation and consequently school readiness are the product of integrated developmental processes at the biological and behavioral levels that are shaped by the contexts in which development is occurring.
In doing so, we illustrate the idea that research on self-regulation powerfully highlights ways in which gaps in school readiness and later achievement are linked to poverty and social and economic inequality and points the way to effective approaches to counteract these conditions.

A lifestyle intervention in preschool children (Ballabeina)

Influence of a lifestyle intervention in preschool children on physiological and psychological parameters (Ballabeina): study design of a cluster randomized controlled trial.
BMC Public Health. 2009 Mar 31;9:94.
Niederer I1, Kriemler S, Zahner L, Bürgi F, Ebenegger V, Hartmann T, Meyer U, Schindler C, Nydegger A, Marques-Vidal P, Puder JJ.

Childhood obesity and physical inactivity are increasing dramatically worldwide.
Children of low socioeconomic status and/or children of migrant background are especially at risk.
In general, the overall effectiveness of school-based programs on health-related outcomes has been disappointing.
A special gap exists for younger children and in high risk groups.

This paper describes the rationale, design, curriculum, and evaluation of a multicenter preschool randomized intervention study conducted in areas with a high migrant population in two out of 26 Swiss cantons. Twenty preschool classes in the German (canton St. Gallen) and another 20 in the French (canton Vaud) part of Switzerland were separately selected and randomized to an intervention and a control arm by the use of opaque envelopes.
The multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention aimed to increase physical activity and sleep duration, to reinforce healthy nutrition and eating behavior, and to reduce media use.
According to the ecological model, it included children, their parents and the teachers.
The regular teachers performed the majority of the intervention and were supported by a local health promoter. The intervention included physical activity lessons, adaptation of the built infrastructure; promotion of regional extracurricular physical activity; playful lessons about nutrition, media use and sleep, funny homework cards and information materials for teachers and parents. It lasted one school year. Baseline and post-intervention evaluations were performed in both arms. Primary outcome measures included BMI and aerobic fitness (20 m shuttle run test).
Secondary outcomes included total (skinfolds, bioelectrical impedance) and central (waist circumference) body fat, motor abilities (obstacle course, static and dynamic balance), physical activity and sleep duration (accelerometry and questionnaires), nutritional behavior and food intake, media use, quality of life and signs of hyperactivity (questionnaires), attention and spatial working memory ability (two validated tests). Researchers were blinded to group allocation.

The purpose of this paper is to outline the design of a school-based multicenter cluster randomized, controlled trial aiming to reduce body mass index and to increase aerobic fitness in preschool children in culturally different parts of Switzerland with a high migrant population.

The CON group continued to follow their usual school curriculum which included one 45 min physical education lesson taught by the classroom teachers and one 45 min rhythmic lesson (given by a rhythmic specialist)

… PA lessons were given four times a week including 40 min lessons and 5 min cool down.

…Results of the intervention will be available in 2010.

Urie Bronfenbrenner

iLearn II (2012)

iLearn II
An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store
Carly Shuler
January 2012
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Create standards for products marketed as educational
Previous analyses of children’s digital media have identified a lack of standards around marketing products as educational, making it difficult for parent or educators to discern if products live up to their claims (Shuler, 2007). This has been a long-­‐standing issue in the educational toy and game industry, and perhaps one that can be tackled early in the evolution of the app market.

Protect Children from Digital Age Commercialism
The Children’s Television Act was put in place to protect children from inappropriate commercialism. This act needs to be updated for a digital age with an emphasis on the app market. In the long term, apps will be better for children, parents and businesses alike if there are policies that protect without hindering creative development and innovation.

Set a research agenda Academia needs to address the rapidly growing app market by setting a research agenda regarding digital age learning. Developers and researchers should work together toward the design of effective, high-­‐quality products.

The consumer marketplace for apps consists not only of Apple’s App Store, but the burgeoning Android Market and key players like Microsoft, Samsung, RIM and others must be considered. Furthermore, apps are just one slice of the rich digital media world that today’s children are growing up in. Where do the LeapPad, Innotab, and VINCI Jit in? eReaders? How about the DS? Clearly, this is a complex market -­‐ all the more reason this analysis is necessary.

In July of 2011, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center compiled a sample of 200 apps that included the 100 top-­‐selling paid apps for both the iPad and iPhone in the Education category of the iTunes App Store.
{How on earth did they select the other 100? Currently there are 150 listed.}

This is a market analysis, not empirical research about the educational effectiveness of apps in the sample or apps in general. App category in iTunes is designated by the app developer.

with over 500,000 apps on Apple’s App Store and another 300,000 on the Android Market

Moms With Apps, a collaborative group of developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.

Developers: Respect the Sanctity of Childhood and Play
7. Do not disguise costs or manipulate children’s emotions to entice spending
{bibliography on monetization strategies on blog}

Literacy apps are surprisingly sparse
There are surprisingly few apps in the literacy category.
From this analysis, it is impossible to discern whether there are apps available in these subjects that are not being purchased, there is a dearth of such apps available, or whether these apps may be in a different section of the iTunes Store (such as in the eBooks). However, it seems reasonable to suggest that this may be an underserved market and represent an opportunity for developers.

Over 12 years ago, pediatric immunologist Dr. Avraham Kadar, M.D. was spending a significant amount of time explaining how the body works to his young patients and their families, and found that animation could be helpful in understanding difficult concepts. That finding led to the creation of BrainPOP

the devices (and iTunes) are primarily consumer-­‐ and not institutional-­‐focused

Assessing quality and learning value is difficult in the educational app market
There are currently no Jirm and independently verified standards of educational value in the app market, and there is a dearth of empirical evidence about the effectiveness of apps for learning. To help assess overall quality of the sample of best-­‐selling apps in the Education category of the iTunes App Store, third party sources including Children’s Technology Review (CTR), Common Sense Media (CSM) and a consumer rating on iTunes were consulted.

More than half of the apps were not rated by either expert source Only 27 apps (14%) out of the entire sample were rated by Children’s Technology Review, which currently has the most rigorous review instrument.
Common Sense Media has rated more apps (43%).

NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Quality Statement

The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB

Create standards for products marketed as educational

By Jennifer Kotler

Shaping the Developing Brain: Prenatal through EC

Shaping the Developing Brain: Prenatal through Early Childhood
Fifth Annual Aspen Brain Forum
November 11 – 13, 2014
The New York Academy of Sciences

0. Keynote Address
Thomas R. Insel, MD, National Institute of Mental Health

I. Neural Development

I.1 Sensitive Periods in Brain Development
Takao Hensch, PhD, Harvard University

I.2 Structural and Molecular Changes in the Developing Brain
Ed Lein, PhD, Allen Institute for Brain Science

I.3 New Tools to Investigate Brain Development
Speaker Forthcoming

II. Cognitive Development

II.1 Language Development
Patricia Kuhl, PhD, University of Washington

II.2 Early Attachment, Emotional Development and Differential Susceptibility to Environmental Influences
Jay Belsky, PhD, University of California, Davis

II.3 Social Learning and Development
Andrew Meltzoff, PhD, University of Washington

III. Social and Environmental Influences on Brain Development
Moderator: Catherine Monk, PhD, Columbia University

III.1 Effects of a Stressful Environment on the Developing Brain and Behavior: Prenatal through Early Life
Tracy L. Bale, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

III.2 Role of Early Experience in Neuro-Affective Development
Nim Tottenham, PhD, UCLA

III.3 Impact of Poverty on the Developing Brain
Martha Farah, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

III.4 Can We Apply the Basic Principles of How Stress Affects Development to More Complex Childhood Psychopathologies?
Charles Nelson, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University

IV. Spotlight on Nutrition and Brain Development
This session is co-presented with The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences
Moderator: Mandana Arabi, MD, PhD, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

IV.1 An Overview on Nutritional Status and Brain Development: The Importance of Timing in Determining the Right Intervention and Brain Assessment
Michael Georgieff, MD, University of Minnesota

IV.2 Standardizing Growth and Nutritional Status Biomarkers And The Tools To Assess Their Effects On Early Childhood Development
Edward Frongillo, PhD, University of South Carolina

IV.3 The Role of Micronutrients in Brain Development: The Most Useful Biomarkers that Relate to Optimal Childhood Development
Maureen M. Black, PhD, University of Maryland

IV.4 Iron Deficiency and the Developing Brain: a Paradigm for Interdisciplinary Approaches to Nutritional Neuroscience
Betsy Lozoff, MD, University of Michigan

V. Translating Research into Intervention, Education, and Policy
Moderator: Susan Magsamen, MS Johns Hopkins University

V.1 Leveraging Science to Improve Early Childhood Developmental Intervention
Joseph Piven, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities

V.2 Minding the Baby, an Intervention to Improve Early Childhood Development Outcomes in At-Risk Mothers and Infants
Linda C. Mayes, MD, Yale School of Medicine

V.3 Intervention to Help Close the Word Gap
Dana Suskind, MD, University of Chicago, 30 Million Words Initiative

Named for a landmark study that found that children born into poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age three than more affluent children, Thirty Million Words Initiative (TMW) develops evidence-based interventions designed to impact this ‘word gap’ by targeting parental/caregiver knowledge, beliefs and language behavior at a population level.
The goal is to map our research-based interventions onto existing infrastructure nationally.
Grounded in behavior change theory, TMW’s flagship multimedia curriculum, TMW-Home Visiting, gives caregivers strategies that can strengthen children’s cognitive development using the TMW 3Ts: Tune In and respond to what children communicate; Talk More and build child vocabulary through descriptive language; and Take Turns to engage children in conversation and foster curiosity and knowledge.
TMW does not require changes to cultural practices or idiomatic speech, but rather focuses on enhancing adult-child interactions to positively impact development.
TMW has a dual-generation approach and works through three tiers of intervention.
Individual interventions focus on reaching parents and caregivers in economically disadvantaged communities. Community-based interventions targeted neighborhoods and populations through community-based, civic, cultural, religious, health and education organizations, and professional networks that provide care to children from 0-3 years of age. Population-level intervention shapes public awareness via education, public health, and information infrastructures as engines for outreach.
This presentation describes our iterative developmental approach to evidence-based interventions and presents early findings demonstrating the promise of a parent/caregiver approach to impacting the ‘word gap.’

V.4 Building Early Childhood Learning Systems: Early Head Start to the Classroom
Sharon Lynn Kagan, EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University

VI. How to Shape Policy to Address Different Critical Periods and Multiple Adversities
Moderator: Pia Britto, PhD, UNICEF

A study done in 1995 indicated that children from higher-income families heard 30 million more words at home by the age of 4 than children from low-income homes. This has become known as the 30 million-word gap.

Oct 28, 2012


Poverty and the Developing Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging
Sheeva Azma
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University
Synesis 2013; 4: G40-46

Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents
Nature Neuroscience (March 30, 2015)

Improving early child development with words
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
TEDxAtlanta, 2014

5 connections that will change children’s lives
Laura Jana, MD
TEDxOmaha, 2014

How does income affect childhood brain development?
Kimberly Noble
Apr 18, 2019
Neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble is leading the Baby’s First Years study: the first-ever randomized study of how family income changes children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development.

Immunizing Kids Against Illiteracy

Parents who read to their children nurture more than literary skills
The American Academy of Pediatrics
Published online June 24, 2014

parents who spend time reading to their children create nurturing relationships, which is important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development.


To ‘Immunize’ Kids Against Illiteracy, Break Out A Book In Infancy
June 24, 2014

The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents begin reading to their children early, even to newborns. Professor Susan Neuman, an expert on early literacy development, explains.

board books – B-O-A-R-D – are a wonderful strategy to help their little hands learn to turn a page.
Secondly, we know that young children’s vision is not well-formed, so the colors need to be very distinct.
And finally, there needs to be very little on a page. In other words, it should be an object or one picture. But too much busyness on a page is really very distracting for a child.


Never Too Young: Pediatricians Say Parents Should Read To Infants
June 24, 2014

As a result, children in poorer families lag behind in language processing as early as 18 months of age, a study published last year in Developmental Science found.

To try to shrink that gap, the pediatricians are working with Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit organization that provides books for doctors to give to low-income families, as well as Too Small to Fail, a project of the Clinton Foundation.


Closing The ‘Word Gap’ Between Rich And Poor
December 29, 2013

The Power of Talk, 2e

You Could Use A Good Talk

You Could Use A Good Talk, Conversation Expert Says
January 02, 2010

Daniel Menaker. He’s a conversation connoisseur and author of a new book called “A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation.

Robert Burns says,” Oh, what a gift, the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”
And it seems to me that in conversation, if we’re attentive, we can find out what sort of impression and what sort of impact we’re having on others and learn about ourselves.
And if we find ourselves out of bounds or having insulted someone then perhaps we can change that.

children interrupt and kids get enthusiastic, and one of the ways they show their enthusiasm is to interrupt. And I think, in the book, I say how many times have you said or heard a younger or any person say, wait a minute, wait a minute. I just got to say this one thing.


Effective Communication Skills With Dan O’Connor
Jul 27, 2009

  • That’s interesting – tell me more.
  • That’s interesting – Why would you say that to me?
    (That’s interesting… what makes you say that?)
  • That’s interesting – Why would you do that?
  • That’s interesting – Why would you ask that?