Apps/programs used in schools

I wondered if anyone had research/thoughts on some of the widely used reward-based apps that are used in elementary schools, like study ladder and reading eggs, where by doing work you earn dollars that can be spent in game time.

I understood that research was pretty clear than instrinsic motivation had the best long term outcomes for students, not extrinsic (reward based) learning. Has anyone got valid recent studies/info on this?
Given that, I can’t understand why schools are using them so extensively, they openly advertise themselves as rewarding students for work, and use endorsements like my child is just addicted to reading eggs.
I understand there is short term evidence for improvement in literacy with reading eggs, it’s the learning that’s going on and the long term outcomes I’m interested in. (If you reward kids with candy when they eat dinner there would probably be short term evidence of improvements too). With a slight decline in literacy and clear decline in reading for pleasure, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts and see some valid research.
With articles and discussion on loot boxes and the gamblification of gaming being a grooming step towards gambling, it strikes me that hours of edu-gaming could be leading towards an interest in gaming per say. (I’m not thinking these edu-games are going to create a bunch of gamblers, it’s more being lead to time maybe less well spent).

If these reward-based apps are nothing but awesome and there’s good evidence for it, I’d like to know that too. Cheers!

My daughters school uses reading eggs and other reward type learning apps starting in kindergarten. I know the developers had the greatest intentions because this younger generation’s behavior is most easily modified by reward programs, however this is an example where the 2D world doesn’t translate word for word…

In my mind the rewards of flashing screens given over and over is sensory overload and stirs the classroom up to an unmanageable level of noise for the rest of the day. Some kids manage themselves better after those experiences than others, but it only takes a few kids to fire up a classroom!! Developmentally speaking, kindergarten is a time to learn and practice self regulation- an important skill to foster classroom learning for subsequent years. So from what I’ve seen the 1:1 app iPad deal failed in our school…

We never used the learning apps recommended by the school- and my daughter is thriving academically… I watched the kids use the apps in school and they would do ANYTHING to see the star rewards explode on the screen. So I decided then- there is no learning happening here so we won’t participate outside of school. Anyways… They would pick random answers etc… I grew up on Atari and intellivision, so pardon my frankness but the apps result were no more than a bad video game. With that said- certain kids may be reached better through technology- so the question remains how do we find out which kids these apps benefit? Which kids shouldn’t use technology due to sensory overload afterwards? Is it worth it to risk a whole classroom functioning together as a group? Is iPad learning apps better in the home where a parent can personally moderate whether learning apps are appropriate for their child?

I say all this after seeing the 1:1 education classroom unfold before my eyes the last few years… My daughter being in 3rd grade now I don’t appreciate the benefit for her at least and it isn’t worth it to sabotage a classroom’s learning environment. iPad days were always the loudest and wildest days at school.

Also- research shows tha number of times the screen changes affects the dopamine receptors in the brain (same as heroine and sugar etc…) so it fosters an addictive relationship with technology.

That’s a really good point, that there are some kids that these apps may benefit. There’s a large study on digital reading that discusses it, a small group of students who probably benefits, those that wouldn’t have engaged otherwise (they noted of that small group, they were mostly boys), but the majority of students had slight declines in literacy. So that’s a really good point, for students maybe not engaging/suceeding (and considering issues that might contribute that need different support) - are there ways those children could be identified without the majority being adversely affected.

There are risks on the flip side too where there are some groups (such as those on the spectrum) who have been identified as being at more risk of digital addiction, and I’m sure there are others that haven’t seen considered or researched. Thank you!

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@JC3 Where can I find the study you know of that pointed to a slight decline with literacy? My daughters school is addicted to the new and upcoming which is good but don’t consider what is being missed. You make a good point about at risk kids- become we start new learning methods maybe we should evaluate who it will benefit and whether some kids might not at all or decline.

This isn’t the study I was thinking of, I can’t finx it, but similar, Margaret Merga has done a few studies on this I think. I had a quick scan and there seems to be mixed results, pretty standard. There’s some clear measures of a decline in literacy, but that doesn’t measure why…

Here’s a COST action group looking into it too

Not to mention the electronic waste and having to use energy EVERY time the text is read.