New Book Alert: The App Generation

I’m listening this afternoon to a talk from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Askwith Forum, its ongoing speaker series with leaders in education research. Tonight’s talk is from Dr. Howard Gardner and Dr. Katie Davis about their new book, The App Generation. According to the Askwith Forum website, the book is a look at “what it means to be ‘app-dependent’ versus ‘app-enabled,’ and how this generation’s life differs from the one before the digital era.”

There are some terrific take-home messages from this talk, not the least of which are the ways that we as adults–or digital immigrants, as I’m loathe to call myself–can help our app-dependent students lean more toward becoming app-enabled. Three recommendations (in my words) are these:

  • Model app enablement: show kids that the options for solving a problem don’t have to live within the boundaries of particular apps. Apps are limited by the imaginations and programming of the people who created them: don’t let your creativity be bound by artificial constraints set by others. Find creative ways to solve problems!
  • Model app disablement: put the device away! Show students when it is and is not appropriate to use a device. Show that there’s value in activities that are completely non-digital and non-app-linked.
  • Promote computational skills! Teach students that apps are created by people and that they could someday be those people! Teach kids that they can learn specific skills for programming and technology design and that they can build their own tools for exploring the world and expressing their creativity.

I can’t wait to read the book and to engage our community in discussion about it. Learn more about the book on its website here. 


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