Direct drive of the computer rather than indirect... Smaller, easier to use where the user is ...For many, a familiar format...
As we work to develop a criteria for the selection of apps for learners 3 - 7 years of age. The intended bias is for apps which are not just tools for learning something, but for practicing or learning things we value.
Currently number 22 on top grossing education apps.
Educational Soundness- Does the app help students approach or practice learning goals?Begin with the end in mind. What is it you want students to learn, do, discuss, practice, think about, share, ponder, or explore? Keep in mind this criteria first. All others are subservient to this one. If it doesn’t do these then move on now!
Importance - Does the app provide opportunities of importance or is it just an elephant teaching the color gray?If you have one short mention of something in your standards or curriculum, something that usually takes you and your students just a few minutes, then you probably ought not take the time to introduce an app to do this. Choose wisely.
Higher Level Thinking - Does the app provide opportunities for learners to exercise their higher level thinking? Powerful tools should be used in powerful ways. Look for apps with “stretch”. Apps which provide opportunities to move beyond remembering facts and factoids. Look for apps which stretch students’ thinking even if they are non- or limited readers.
Usability - Is the app easy to learn? Apps need to be “effort positive”. The amount of effort put into learning to use the app should be far less than the amount of effort put into the “curriculum” learning. Additionally, the learning curve should be short, for students AND teachers.
Manageability - Is it easy for the teacher to manage?We are evaluating apps for use in educational settings, not just for home (or in the grocery store cashier waiting line) which means the app needs to be simple for managing in a multi-user world. Can student work be saved, shared, deleted? Does the activity reset each time?
Cost/Benefit Balance - Is the app’s price appropriate for it’s purposes and usefulness?Prices of apps remain mostly low (the average iPad app for education is about $2). We need to be certain we don’t fall into the “It’s free, so why not?” but are instead much more intentional in our selection. Some apps are clearly worth their higher price, but price is not an indicator of the value of an app to you or your students. An expensive app which you and your students use almost daily may be worth the higher investment.
Sharing - Does the app “trap” all student work or student products within the app or does it provide ways to share their work?I have a very strong bias against apps which trap student products in the app and even specifically to the particular tablet. Apps which give multiple options to share, publish, or export student work have much greater flexibility and usefulness in a school setting. The ability to blend tools and products can provide us with easier ways to build authentic audiences for students.
Tools - Does the app provide a tool for creating something rather than just consuming something?The use of apps as tools means that students are developing higher levels of thinking as well as products which can demonstrate their understanding of content.
Longevity - Does the app lend itself to being used over and over again with continued positive growth and benefits?Apps which are open-ended tools tend to have a longer life in the classroom. An app which can be easily repurposed is a good investment in time, energy and funds.
Evaluating Apps for Young Learners
TABLETS,PRESCRIPTION FOR LEARNING? EVALUATING APPS FOR YOUNG LEARNERS Gail Lovely Gail@GailLovely.com
HIGHER LEVELS OF THINKING DOES THE APP PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FORLEARNERS TO EXERCISE HIGHER LEVEL THINKING?
APPS AND APPLICATION OF APPSEducational researchers and practitioners alike assertthat the potential of new technologies for learning islikely to be found not in the technologies themselvesbut in the way in which these technologies are usedas tools for learning (Means & Olson, 1995; Owston, 1997;Valdez et al., 1999).From NCREL: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/reading/li300.htm
USABILITYIS THE APP EASY TO LEARN AND OPERATE?