Smart Apps For Android: Reviews by Smart Apps For Android

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Reviews by Smart Apps For Android

When we review apps at Smart Apps For Android, there are a number of elements we look for to make the app stand out from others. The staff from the Smart Apps family (Smart Apps For Android, Smart Apps For Kids and Smart Apps for Special Needs) all have numerous devices and each have downloaded thousands of apps. We guard our five-star rating and only a few apps have ever been awarded the full five stars. Below is an explanation of the various aspects of an app that will influence our rating at Smart Apps For Android.

Quality - The Android market appears to have a lot of apps of lower quality (including pirated apps). The graphics are grainy and the audio is scratchy. We are looking for apps that have excellent presentation, whose audio and video do not hinder a child's learning by being unclear.

Quantity - Particularly when it comes to paid apps, we are looking for apps that have a lot of educational content: multiple skills taught/practiced, and a variety of activities. Value for money is a phrase I would use here.

Innovation - Does the app and the technology used provide innovation to learning? Does the app do something a piece of paper and a pencil could not do? Augmented reality, interaction and immediate feedback are examples of app innovation.

Educational value - So that teachers can make use of an app in their classroom, we want to see links to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and to the Australian Curriculum (AC). It makes it easier for us if those links to standards are stated, but if not, we want to find them easily.

Higher order thinking - Using Bloom's Taxonomy we are looking for apps that stretch children's thinking and give opportunity for students to create and consolidate their learning.

Skill progression - Are all the activities set at the same skill level? Do children work their way through a set of activities that become increasingly more difficult? Does the level of difficulty adjust according to the child's success? Does a child need to master a lower level before progressing onto a higher one?

Progress tracking - It is all well and good for children to have all of the above, but how can we as parents/educators know how our children are progressing unless there is some form of record? How is a child's learning recorded for future reference?

Customizable - We are looking for apps that can be customized according to individual children's abilities. Does the app allow for differentiated learning? Are there options that provide extra support or extra extension for children who need it?

Social aspect - Is there opportunity for children to share the device and learn together by using this app? Is there opportunity for parents and children to work together? Are children inspired to continue learning once the device is switched off? We are looking for apps that do no isolate a child from those around them.

Self actualization - Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we are looking for apps that satisfy other non-educational kinds of needs of children. Is the app safe? Does it reinforce relationships with significant others? Are children empowered by it?

All of these elements are considered when reviewing an app, and will influence our rating. Other aspects, such as the size of an app or technological issues may be noted but they are not the core of what an app is about. If you have any questions or comments, please comment below and if you have an app you would like featured on our website, please take a look at our services here: Services, and also see your options for advertising here: Advertising and submit your app using this form: Submit Your App.

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Even with all the technology in her house, Cas still sometimes feels there are not enough gigabytes to hold all the wonderful apps for children that are out there!

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