A few reports that I think are incredibly useful to better understand what to look for in apps for early literacy learning include:
- Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs (report by NAEYC and Fred Rogers Center)
- Tap, Click and Read by Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine
- Putting Education in Educational "apps" by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (Temple University), Jennifer M. Zosh (Penn State University, Brandywine), Roberta Michnick Golinkoff (University of Delaware), James H. Gray (Sesame Workshop), Michael B. Robb (Saint Vincent College), and Jordy Kaufman (Swinburne University of Technology)
- Educational Apps: What we Do and Do not Know by Ellen Wartella
- Family Time with Apps report by Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Where to search for apps and websites?
The majority of apps labeled for "education" have no research, literacy experts or co-use strategies to inform the development of the tool. Thus, it is risky to assume something is educational just by the arbitrary label in app stores. Rather than going to the Google Play or iTunes store where it is labeled "education", there are better places to search for high quality apps and websites. The two places to I commonly go to search for websites and apps for learning are Graphite (Common Sense Media) and The Children's Tech Review.