Mobile devices not a magic wand anymore
5 April 2017Share

Mobile devices not a magic wand anymore


Zeynep Akçay, Academic Member of Yaşar University’s Department of Animation, designed an animation in an attempt to investigate the effects of mobile technologies such as tablets and smart phones on preschoolers’ education.

Mobile applications and interactive screens have become a more integral part of preschoolers’ lives, considering the developments in technology. Some parents resort to mobile devices to entertain their children while some others try to keep their children away from them. According to researchers, interactive technologies stand as a gateway to the world between the fast-advancing virtuality and the physical world; however, its potential to serve for educational purposes with quality content to be developed has yet to be taken seriously.


Zeynep Akçay, Academic Member of Yaşar University’s Department of Animation, investigated the effects of interactive animation films on mobile devices on preschoolers, and on their attachment and learning skills. Expressing that they fused the animation’s strength in storytelling with the model of “touch-drag”, which is often used in mobile applications for children, Akçay continued: “One of the most important aspects of the mobile devices is that they allow various ways of interaction. However, there is only a handful of research investigating their effects on storytelling for preschoolers, as well as on children’s understanding and improving some specific skills based on these stories. We prepared the animation film jointly with Prof. Dr. Şefik Güngör, Asst. Prof. Dr. Elif Durgel Jagtap and Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Can Özer from the departments of film design, psychology and music. We analyzed to what extent children love and get attached to the film and to what extent they understand the characters in the film. We used a version of the film which allows children to direct it by way of dragging objects on the touchscreen, and another version in which children can only watch. As part of the study, we interviewed over two-hundred children between ages 3 to 5.”


To describe the results of the research, Zeynep Akçay also stated that, “The children’s communication with the interactive version of the film has been more significant than with the non-interactive version as they were able to intervene in the former. So, we have seen a double amount of attachment to the interactive version. 76 out of the 106 children who were able to intervene in the film while watching it got attached to the film to a great extent while only 48 out of the 110 children in the other group showed the same extent of attachment. The children experienced the interactive film in a more joyful and motivated way, though this motivation did not have a significant influence on children’s understanding of the film’s content. These results stand as critically important data which show that interactive mobile applications for children are not miracle-workers, at least for their initial experience. However, it also shows that these applications also have the potential to be effectively used in education considering the high rates of motivation and attachment observed among the children.”