Educational app evaluation

Image: pain rating app

It’s pleasing to discover that the world has become very serious about rating mobile apps for educational purposes. There should be some solid reasons and explanations for using apps in an educational setting and there ought to be a well considered way now for rating apps because we have had mobile technology for quite some time . As an educator you need an approach to apps which will guide well thought out decisions about apps’ use. You also need a way to include learner opinion of apps because they are at the receiving end of it and need to be encouraged to be more than passive users. Education apps won’t improve unless we are all working together as a team and rating apps is a good way of identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. With some apps you have no choice . They are introduced into an educational environment and you are expected to use them. If you can then go though the process of rating them then there is solid evidence and data to help inform decisions for negotiations about the use of an app or to be able to contact developers and ask if they can work on certain aspects of the app. Those who work in technology usually like a challenge and so are very approachable if you can be clear about what you are asking. Digital teaching and learning is a constant improvement environment and way of being where clarity is important. There are some very helpful evaluation sites which show how you can go about rating apps:

Mobile app rating scale

App evaluation checklist

Ways to evaluate educational apps

I always involved students in app rating and it was a very helpful and interesting exercise for all of us:

The great iPad app review
There are also two useful pdfs to download if you click on the links:

Evaluating apps for Teaching and Learning

Rubric iPad Apps v0.4 Department of Education Western Australia

Apps for your classroom

If nothing else, I’d like Daniel Nemerow to get a few more hits on his video. Teachers who bother to reach out to other teachers and share their discoveries and resources need to be encouraged. it makes it easier for everyone because there is so much stuff out there and teachers are really busy people. it’s good to get pointed in the right direction. Daniel Nemerow is reviewing Kahoot, Nearpod, Quizizz, Socrative, and Plickers. This way you can have a look and get an idea of whether the app would suit your classroom or not. Kahoot is highly successful and works well. The others are not so familiar with. Daniel Nemerow is and that is what matters. We are now easily able to share from experience.

50 Teaching apps

teaching apps Image : Scholastic

Scholastic is a well known and well established text book company for teachers. It has branched out well into the online world and the site always provides some good resources and ideas. It focuses on reading, in particular but offers plenty of other ideas and has sections of the site for all stakeholders in a child’s education. The apps are well worth considering. They are a mix of free and paid apps.

iPad handwriting recognition apps

This video looks at handwriting recognition apps for the iPad and their functionality. It also shows you how to use handwriting recognition apps if you don’t know how to use them. My question is why? Why would you want to handwrite and convert that to text? There must be people who think it’s important because there are quite a few handwriting recognition tools around. My simple way of looking at it is there is a keyboard available to me. If I want to create text I type it. If I want to handwrite I use a stylus. I am still better at handwriting on a graphics tablet than I am on an iPad. Notes Plus is a good app for handwriting and if you want the hand recognition facility then it is there. I find the stylus is important. It is important to test run different styluses so that you get the one which functions best with the handwriting tool and the one which suits your hand movements the best. Having a test run with a pool of different styluses is always a good idea. No point in buying them all…just share and see! There is an article here on Macademise which discusses other hand writing recognition apps and reasons for using them. One app will suit your handwriting better than another so it’s a good idea to test different apps too.

Assembly app

Assembly app is one of the most productive and professionally presented apps I have seen.  I got information about it via @uxigers on Instagram. The great thing about it is that the free version has plenty of tools and resources to work with. You can then have the option of  purchasing in app extras to further enhance what you are doing. The video gives a good overview of the sorts of things you can do. It is focussed on design and layout so it does have the snap to grid option which you can enable as you wish. The app also comes with a sound tutorial suite so that you can learn how to use different aspects of the app and set yourself right when it comes to using the app. It makes excellent use of the attributes of tablets/smartphones and so has brought us into the 21st century in its approach and intention. The more you know the better you are with this app. It teaches you to refine and improve your skills and create something of good quality. The Assembly app site is well laid out with plenty of information to help you get started. You can download it here from iTunes. There is a review here on Stuff which looks at it and then gives you other ideas of how to use it. Assembly is intelligent design because it functions well and anyone, no matter their level in graphic design can enjoy using this app. It means you can create and customise your own pictures, you can create layouts for apps and web pages, you can just use it as a sketch pad and playground for your ideas. It really is a productive, helpful, well thought out educational app.

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