Feb 19, 2013

Part II: Websites and Apps for Teens and Education

If you plan to design/develop websites or applications that provide an element of "edutainment" or informal educational activities for teens, it might be good to think about how your site/application can fit into the requirements of an educational system. Much has changed over the past three years. 

For example, many schools have adopted a 1:1 laptop/netbook/tablet initiative. In some cases, the students no longer carry textbooks, because digital versions are installed on their devices. They access on-line digital content, such as videos and interactive learning games, and self-correcting quizzes provided by the textbook publisher. These activities are accessed by the students during and after school hours. 

Teachers do not limit their assignments to the resources provided by text-book publishers. In some classes at the high school level, students are required to work on group projects that extend over several weeks. Students use protected websites, i.e. Moodle, provided by the school district, to store digital content and collaborate on group projects. 

During the course of a group project, teachers provide students with links to approved websites. Some of these websites provide tools to assist in the creation of content related to their project. Students might work together to create an animation or video, or work individually on one component of the project to contribute to the final project. For example, one student might work on an animation to demonstrate a biological process, and another might be responsible for organizing a story board for a video that the group presents to the class.

After completion, the products generated from the students' work may be available for viewing by others on-line, and in some cases, featured on the school's website.

If you are interested in developing applications or content for use in education, it is important to know that most states have adopted the Common Core Standards. Educational applications must align with these content standards in order to support the learning and teaching goals for a particular subject. 

It is also important to have a grasp of learning and teaching theories, an understanding of child and adolescent development, and a working knowledge of applications and technologies that have been successfully used with this age group to support learning.  Consider working with a knowledgeable interdisciplinary team!


Nielson-Norman Group Research Reports

Pew Research Center Resources

Teens and Education Resources 
The following websites also provide resources for other age groups and related topics.

Other Resources

For readers interested in learning more about educational technology and related "nuts and bolts", the following links will provide food for thought:

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