The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools across the nation, and parents are increasingly depending on technology to keep kids occupied and learning while they balance homeschooling and work-from-home demands. However, understandably, many parents have concerns about letting their child loose on the web. Prompted by these concerns, Google has come out with a new feature in its Play Store which promotes 'teacher approved' kid-friendly app content.
The Google Play Store can be found on most of the best smartphones (opens in new tab) and best tablets (opens in new tab) around. Basically, if it's not an iPhone or Huawei, it's probably got the Play Store installed. The new 'teacher approved' feature is displayed in the Play Store by a clearly-displayed badge, and will appear across the US in the coming days. The feature will also roll out internationally in the months to come.
Apps are rated (opens in new tab) on factors like 'age-appropriateness, quality of experience, enrichment, and delight', and Google has teamed up with academic experts and teachers across the country to perfect its criteria. Each teacher approved app has a list of reasons for its child-friendly rating, including the skills it teaches and the appropriate age range it covers.
The apps promoted in the new 'teacher approved' section will also be broken down by age group, meaning there'll be something for every level of learning. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (opens in new tab). approximately 55 million US children are now out of school thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many parents, stuck working from home, are trying to find the best online tutoring services (opens in new tab) to supplement their kids' learning. However, apps are a great way to create some variety in a child's homeschooling routine. Many have an emphasis on child-friendly fun that hardly feels like school, which is great for those with shorter attention-spans, or rewarding your child after they've been well-behaved.
Google isn't the only one to roll out teacher-approved services to help homeschooling parents. Netflix (opens in new tab) has released its educational documentaries (opens in new tab) to YouTube to give parents and teachers a break, too. Duolingo also launched its language-learning app for children early (opens in new tab) due to the coronavirus outbreak. The free iOS app, Duolingo ABC, is designed to help children learn to read and write English during coronavirus isolation.