Young Children’s Preferences for Musical IPad Apps

Pearsall, Aimee
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University of Delaware
Music-based technology is frequently included in early childhood classrooms as an attempt to incorporate music education in the curriculum. However, there is a lack of research that addresses the educational benefits of music-based tablet applications (apps) for young children. Researchers in this study explored the preferences of four-year-old children (N=16) for music-based apps in a preschool setting. They found that those apps that had a high frequency of visual stimulation, were easy to navigate, and/or had familiar music were preferred by children. Moreover, while children engaged in social interaction, there was a paucity of outward musical engagement. Understanding children’s preferences for musical apps while developing appealing apps grounded in music education research will provide developmentally appropriate and interactive music-based technology for young children and educators alike. Additionally, understanding the qualities of musical apps that are most likely to promote musical responses (such as singing, chanting, moving, creating/improvising, or combinations thereof) will help to develop music-based technology that will provide maximum educational benefits for young children.