Native Brain develops research-inspired, impact-accountable, 21st century iPad apps that help all kids learn, love, and master math, reading, and other fundamental skills.

The learning revolution has already begun…

The factory-based model of education that helped drive growth and prosperity in the 20th century is in desperate need of an upgrade.  Its “one size fits all” approach to all learners, its dependence on dry, static materials like printed textbooks, and its inability to adapt to the changing needs of individual learners grew out of real constraints in centuries past.  The world has moved on, however, to the point where today these are all artificial constraints that are nonetheless interfering in very real ways with society’s ability to prepare learners for the 21st century world they actually inhabit.

The fact is, advances in back-end technologies (like computer adaptive learning and support for “big data” analytics) and front-end technologies (like immersive user experience and tablet computers like the iPad) have made it possible to take learning to the next level.

…but these new technologies by themselves will not transform learning.

Since the launch of the first iPad in 2010, there has been an explosion of apps labeled “Educational” that claim to teach kids fundamental skills like math and reading. Many of these apps are evidently engaging to kids, but few actually have much depth in terms of content.  Fewer still are designed to help kids move beyond a superficial awareness or simple recognition of concepts to the deeper forms of understanding and mastery that will make the knowledge useable immediately while also laying a solid foundation for effective future learning.

Most developers of these apps that are labeled as educational are either unaware of the advanced research that’s been done on how kids learn, or they simply ignore it (except to borrow buzzwords to help sell apps). And why shouldn’t they? As long as their apps are fun, and they can convince parents that “fun = learning,” then they will keep making money whether or not kids learn anything.

It’s time to add “Learning Impact” into the mix.

Native Brain takes a different approach to developing learning apps.

We start with the research – and believe it or not, there’s an enormous amount of quality research to draw upon, both in terms of how kids learn generally and how they learn specific skills (e.g., early math). We then take specific learning interventions that have proven themselves in a research environment, and we adapt the approach to an interactive platform on a tablet. The result is the “visible” part of the app, or what the child will directly interact with – but that’s only half of it.

Then we build in Accountability, and measure for Impact.

All of our apps feature a comprehensive dashboard that enables parents (and educators) to monitor their children’s progress towards learning and empowers them to intervene in appropriate and productive ways.

We also use the same dashboard as part of a validation process in which we field test each exercise with real kids to evaluate the learning effectiveness of the app. By combining video of the iPad app itself with video and audio of each child in the field test as they work through the challenges, we can confirm whether an exercise effectively helps kids learn – or whether it needs to be revised.

Once an app passes the field test, and has demonstrably helped a sample of kids learn the material, then we release to the app store for wider distribution and continue to collate anonymous feedback across the wider base of users to constantly monitor and reconfigure for optimal learning over time.