The Benefit of Learning Apps | Data & Me

There is concern among many that technology is taking over our lives, especially for children raised in a digital-first world. But what if learning apps really can help our children mature and thrive?

In this episode of Data & Me, we’ve looked at two learning apps that are doing just that. Grush is a toothbrush with embedded technology that helps children form better brushing habits while having fun, while Life Sherpa helps learning-impaired teens and adults manage daily activities, so they can stay focused and on track for a successful life and career.

learning apps benefit learning impaired adults

Learning Apps Help Kids Brush Up on Bad Habits

In a government study,only 55% of parents reported achieving a twice daily brushing routine with their kids. A struggle Ethan Schur and the group of parents and dentists he worked with to develop Grush were all-too familiar with. They were looking for a way to get kids excited to brush, and parents and dentists more informed on progress.

“The brush itself has motion sensors inside of it, and when the child is brushing it knows the exact location of the brush within the mouth. What that means is we can connect in real time to a game that’s running on a mobile device, so while the kids are brushing they’re controlling a video game. And the brushing routine can be consistently and constantly improved,” explains Schur.

“We’re using machine learning to understand how well the kids have been brushing — where they have missed — and we’re able to retarget the game so kids can focus on these areas.” — Ethan Schur, Co-Founder of Grush

So far, Grush has been a success, with dentists and parents providing positive feedback. But Grush is still early on, and Schur sees even bigger opportunities for the data that will come out of the tool as more and more kids start using it.

“The data that’s generated by Grush is very meaningful for dentists and it’s something that dentists haven’t seen before. When you take that data, remove all the names, all the profile information then you can really start looking at trends.”

Because of a lack of standards around data collected by IoT devices, it is difficult to make the data accessible to every dentist. As standards of anonymization and protection of data improve in the near future, IoT device data from contributors like Grush brush will become valuable not only to the individual using it, but to any organization that can benefit from health data insights or trends.

Learn more about the future of the IoT Data Marketplace

Technology Bringing Independence to Learning-Impaired Adults

For kids with executive function disabilities like attention deficit or Autism, just remembering simple daily things like grabbing the house keys or to doing the laundry can be challenging. Before learning apps and smartphones, the only help for these young adults seeking independence and a happy life outside the home was the constant follow ups and nagging from parents or teachers.

Enter Life Sherpa, an app that tracks, records and reminds users of daily activities. Its purpose is to help establish routines that are important to independence, so that learning-impaired adults can succeed in college and beyond.

Rick Kienzle of College Living Experience, a national program that offers wraparound support to young adults with various learning differences who are pursuing a college degree or career, uses Life Sherpa on their campuses and have already seen a difference.

“Our incidents of students being locked out of their apartment or coming to classes at the center without their backpack or the keys has decreased for those using the app.”

learning apps help set young adults up for success

The app helps them manage everything from study and homework to their monthly checking accounts, and everything in between. Students using the app are able to gain confidence in their achievements. And according to Kienzle, they wouldn’t be able to achieve these same results without the help of technology.

“Technology has helped the students connect to their lives in a different way. It’s really helped them process their day and be successful. They’re walking through life with confidence. That’s huge.”

Watch the short video above to get the full story about how technology is enabling learning in kids young and old.

Data & Me: Exploring data's impact on our everyday lives


  1. Government Study
  2. UK Disabled Employment Study


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