Digital technologies are part of children’s daily lives, and digital games provide children with a natural entry point into using these tools.
The literature indicates that by using quality digital games it is possible to promote learning. However, heuristic analysis of a sample of educational applications for children under eight years old has shown that their content and design do not take into account the constant and changing evolution in child development or the possible special educational needs of young players (due to their limited accessibility).
The initial hypothesis of the App2five project is that design and content errors of apps aimed at early childhood are an unbeatable obstacle to interaction and game understanding. Consequently, this limits the learning process, since the problem does not lie in the use of these tools, but in the tools themselves.
The App2five project allows new knowledge to be acquired regarding how to adapt interactive digital resources to both child development and functional diversity. All this will improve their design and support the creation and selection of quality interactive content aimed at early childhood.
Within the framework of inclusive education, the project expects to define which are the components of content and interactive design that allow adaptations to a game according to the evolution of child development and the specific needs of each child.
In particular, it determines how the age-appropriateness of an educational app for children influence:
– the emotions experienced during the game
– the duration of the game with respect to
– the understanding and achievement of its objectives
– verbal production, and
– the child’s social interactions with his or her environment.
For this purpose, the interactions of children between eighteen months and five years old with educational applications for mobile devices aimed at early childhood will be analysed by means of a non-invasive methodology in the classroom. App2fiveis being developed from a multimodal perspective, implementing a mixed method research design (fieldnotes, structured observation and machine learning).
The App2five project is being developed with reference to the areas of educational technology, evolutionary psychology, inclusive education, pedagogy and child-computer interaction, and with the participation of international researchers.