Educational applications _Research
Looking for interactive educational applications / games for kids, the first link I found was by BBC (link). I think it is a mixed bag: bad mixed with more bad (different style though) That is of course just my opinion and I am not suggesting that I am in a position myself in terms of computer programming to produce a very complex application; however, I feel that there is a problem with the thinking and actual scope of these.
The first app I looked one in which you basically ‘assemble’ a human body, going into a lot of detail. This is actually a relatively sophisticated app with a strong educational character..however, I think it is quite boring and I can’t imagine a kid actually bothering with it. When I tried ‘playing’ with it, I actually couldn’t do it because the organs had to be rotated correctly as well before being placed on the figure (!) This makes me think that the designers/developers of this app weren’t really thinking about the target group while creating it.
I also looked at a ‘dj’ app in the same web site. This is a lot more fun and playful than the previous one. However, I strongly object the visual language. The application claims to be for the age group 9-11, however the visual style is more appropriate for 4-7 year olds. Kids are more advanced than we tend to give them credit for.
I then came across some excellent educational games at NobelPrize.org (link). I believe that these are successful in creating something that is fun and educational at the same time.
A very big selection of apps was found at Knowledge Adventure (link), and -as expected- results varied. I feel that the term ‘educational’ is used in a not-so-strict way on this web site. Also..who says that children-related web sites should definitely be in Comic Sans? (argh!) Surely there must be a better font that is playful and appropriate for kids..
‘Math Blaster’ (link) looks like an interesting way to turn a true game into something that is educational, but I feel that this approach is too different to what would be appropriate for my project.
Another web site I visited, called ‘Play Kids Games’ (link) turned out to be a surprise: after a horrible navigation system on the web page and use of Comic Sans, when (and if) you manage to get to the actual games, they are pretty good. They are similar to the best ones that can be found in ‘Knowledge Adventure’.
At this point of research, I realised that most web sites have the same style of games/apps as ‘Play Kids Games’ and ‘Knowledge Adventure’ and there is no point in looking more of the same again and again. Out of the remaining web sites, I only include ‘Fun Brain’ (link) because of its occasional use of photographic backgrounds, which makes it just a little bit different from the rest.