Getting the best apps for your students means using resources that vet apps specifically for learning
Mobile apps are quickly redefining how the world interacts with information, and education apps are no exception, as they are quickly becoming the classroom’s number one learning resource. But there’s more to picking an app than browsing random lists online, thanks to a number of new education app resources that use educator reviews, algorithms and university research.
From lists that rate how safe different apps are for students of a certain age, to lists that use sophisticated algorithms that use educator reviews of apps, many sites today are helping educators go beyond a quick browse of iTunes or Google Play.
“Too often I was asked to lead professional development [PD] sessions where I’d have to list a bunch of apps specific to, say, administrators or to science teachers. And it would take me forever and I honestly didn’t have any better idea than they did,” explained Jamie Averbeck, tech integration coach for Wisconsin’s Ashwaubenon School District, during the 2014 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando.
According to Malia Hoffmann, assistant professor at Concordia University (Calif.), as of fall 2013, there were more than 1 million apps for Apple and 1.1 million apps for Android, she said during her session at FETC.
“These numbers are overwhelming, and outside of hearing word-of-mouth suggestions, or looking at third-party source recommendations online, there was a lack of research-based rubrics to help educators evaluate these apps for their schools,” explained Hoffmann. “Which is why, based on well-known research on learning principles, my colleagues and I developed four rubrics.”
Both Averbeck and Hoffman’s resources are listed below.
Do you have a favorite resource you use to choose your apps? What do you think makes a good app? Do you ever feel overwhelmed in the amount of app choices available? Leave your comments in the section provided below, or eMail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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