January 2018: Evaluating “Educational” Apps

This month we’re looking into the STEAM category of technology. The article explores different criteria we can use to evaluate apps as “educational” using the Science of Learning research.


Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy and Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, James H. Gray, Michael B. Robb, and Jordy Kaufman. (2015). Putting Education in “Educational” Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol. 16(1) 3-34. Retrieved from: http://kathyhirshpasek.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Psychological-Science-in-the-Public-Interest-2015-Hirsh-Pasek-3-34.pdf

Discussion Group Meeting

Sunday, January 21st at 5:30 pm. Please email us for the Vancouver specific location.

Discussion Questions

Here are some suggested discussion questions to think about when reading through the pieces.

Critical Appraisal:

  • What were the key objectives of the article? Are the objectives relevant to libraries?
  • What conclusions did the authors come to and were they just?
  • What were the strengths/weaknesses of the piece? (I.e. Was there bias? Did they use credible sources? Were their data gathering methods sound?)

Current Practice:

  • How might we share this information with families in a library setting?
  • How does your library support you as a media mentor to families? What can be done to strengthen this role?
  • How do the “four pillars of learning” apply to other things we do in the library such as programming for kids?
  • What are the risks and benefits of applying this knowledge in our work with children and families?

Can’t Make It To the Meeting?

There’s lots of ways to get involved! Participate online: share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #lscjournalclub. Find a local group or try hosting a journal club meeting in your local community. Let us know about it so we can spread the word. If you set up a local group, test your presentation skills by leading the discussion.

Leave a comment here with any questions or your thoughts about the articles.

Reflection Pieces

Read what others have to say about this month’s readings.