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

Google Translate for Teachers

Lex Prin is very popular on YouTube and he only put this clip up on 23/9 and he is already getting to his 50,000 views. Living proof you can teach, learn , share and connect from anywhere , even your car. We have mobile devices and connectivity. The thought , though, you could use your mobile phone to rewrite and filter your thoughts into something which is more socially acceptable is a great one. One we all wish for. Teachers are not  the only people employed in a position where they have to sometimes rephrase what they are thinking to couch it in a more dulcet way. Why can’t our phones do this for us? Why isn’t there an app for that? We have all sorts of apps for productivity, time management, learning, skills development. We now need apps for personal and social capability! I thank the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia for sharing this video on my Facebook feed this morning.

10 Apps for studying

Jess can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @studywithJess. In the video she is recommending 10 good study apps for students. She is cheerful, positive and likes to be productive. Students can find their own resources these days. It is very easy for them to go on the internet to find resources which will keep them active, positive , go-getting students.It makes good use of their mobile devices.  The study with Jess channel on YouTube has plenty of videos to keep students in control of their learning.

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.

Game based learning apps

zondle

Zondle

There is always going to be a limit as to how many apps and websites you can use in your classes because taking charge of them takes time and energy. It pays, though, to take a look at what is available because it might just be the thing you need for a particular class, a particular student or for a colleague who is looking for something suitable. It may also take a team effort to set some of these apps up at the beginning of the year so that you can benefit from them during the year.That is one thing which needs to be addressed in our workloads. Setting learning materials up online is exacting and time consuming initially.  The Educational Technology and Mobile Learning site has just come up with eight really good apps for mobile learning and game based learning. Some, you could use as an adult to increase your own learning. These game based apps are how we are moving learning out of the four walls of our classrooms. Not all students are endorsing that at present but it is going to be how we capitalise on class time, get the edge and move ourselves forward in a world where we are all connected. We are moving from web 2 to web 3 so it is only a matter of time before we muster specific groups for learning specific things and our students need to be familiar with this approach. I like the look of Zondle and plan to explore that a bit more.

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