According to ed tech guru Kathy Schrock, there are several things to look for in an education app that’s worth your while. Here are the first 5 of her 10 criteria. My comments are in parentheses:
1. Curriculum connection: Are the skills reinforced connected to the targeted skill or concept? (Sounds like a given, right? Not always.)
2. Authenticity: Are the skills practiced in an authentic format/problem-based environment? (I want these skills to have life beyond the app. Kids like my Nic often have trouble generalizing.)
3. Feedback: Is the feedback specific and result in improved student performance? (Have you ever noticed that sometimes the feedback for getting something incorrect on an app is more exciting than what happens when you are correct?)
4. Differentiation: does the app offer flexibility to alter settings to meet student needs? (I love it when an app can grow with its user, and offers increasing levels of challenge as targeted skills are mastered)
5. User friendliness: can students launch and navigate within the app independently? (I am old and often a little clueless when an app isn’t immediately accessible because of the assumptions the designers make about what the user understands about its navigation. Do not make me feel older and more clueless or have to call one of my kids to explain it to me. And do NOT frustrate a child so that they refuse to try after too many unsuccessful attempts to get the app going.)
More to follow! Comments welcome. And special thanks to Kathy Schrock for all her work in ed tech through the years. She continues to be a teacher’s pal, and a parent’s too.