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Digital media, including children’s apps, are increasingly used in early years settings. As many as 80,000 apps claim to be “educational” (Healthy Children, 2018) but the app market is unregulated. Research shows that the majority of children’s apps advertised as “educational” in fact lack educational value (Ólafsson, Livingstone, & Haddon, 2013). This means that selecting high-quality apps can be challenging for caregivers and educators.

Researchers in the Cognitive Development Lab at the University of Salford have recently developed a short questionnaire for caregivers and early years educators to assess whether apps for preschool aged children (2-5 years old) have the potential to teach them new skills.

In this online event chaired by Dr Lisa-Maria Muller (Education Research Manager, Chartered College of Teaching), Dr Joanna Kolak (Researcher, University of Salford) and Dr Gemma Taylor (Lecturer, University of Salford) will share key aspects of their work and provide educators with an understanding of how to identify potentially educational apps for 2-5 year old children in early years settings.

To be explored:

  • What features of apps have potential to support children’s learning and why
  • How to use the app evaluation questionnaire in order to select high quality apps for children aged 2-5
  • Examples of app features with high educational potential and some that do not meet the criteria of being educational

Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask our speakers questions in a Q&A towards the end of the event.


Healthy Children (2018). Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age. Available from: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Tips-for-Parents-Digital-Age.aspx (Accessed: 20 July 2020)

Ólafsson, K., Livingstone, S., & Haddon, L. (2013). Children’s use of online technologies in Europe: A review of the European evidence base. London, England: EU Kids Online.

Dr Joanna Kolak

Researcher, University of Salford

Joanna Kolak, Ph.D. is a Researcher in Psychology at the University of Salford. Her research focusses on monolingual and bilingual language acquisition and children’s learning from digital media.

Twitter: @joanna_kolak

Dr Gemma Taylor

Lecturer, University of Salford

Gemma Taylor, Ph.D. is a lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Salford. Her research focusses on the impact of screen media on children’s early cognitive development.

Twitter: @Gemma_Taylor1

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Event details

Event date
March 10, 2021
Event time
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event location
Event organiser
Chartered College of Teaching