There’s an App for That (ORF)

There’s an App for That: Designing, Developing, Implementing and Researching Educational Apps

Despite the recent emphasis on developing students’ global competencies and digital literacies to promote meaningful participation in Canadian society, various issues at the board- and school-level have prevented widespread implementation of digital technologies for teaching and learning. This creates a disconnect between students’ in-school and out-of-school learning experiences.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, have begun to dominate the consumer technology market, particularly in communities with a high proportion of lower-income families. This has resulted in the release of countless ‘educational’ apps, very few of which have been designed and developed by teams with expertise in applying evidence-based research, pedagogy, and interaction design. Given the relative accessibility of mobile devices and their underrealized potential for learning, this project seeks to overcome barriers associated with educational technology integration (including lack of training and support for educators, lack of educator confidence and comfort with technology, and infrastructure complications), and develop a suite of educational apps catering to the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical domains.

The research objectives of this Ontario Research Fund project, in collaboration with the University of Western Ontario (see full list of collaborators here), are as follows:

  1. To design, develop, implement, evaluate, and make available through a learning portal (EDUZONE) a suite of educational apps that focus on helping students build confidence and competencies in three domains:
    1. Cognitive (Mind Zone);
    2. Social-Emotional (Community Zone); and,
    3. Physical (Body Zone)
  2. To explore the impact of the learning portal (EDUZONE) on the learning of students, their teachers, and their community.
  3. To build capacity for investigating and affecting innovation in formal and informal education settings in the use of the digital innovation.

For more information, and to stay updated with this project, please visit the official research collaboration and dissemination site, linked in the image below:

Cartoon image of three children playing with tablet computers. The text " - Apps for Learning" is displayed below.