Is That App Worth Your Time?

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With tens of thousands of educational apps in the world, it’s clear that not all apps are created equally. As you play different apps, consider these five questions to determine the quality of the app.

How deep does it go? Does the app offer multiple levels to scaffold a particular skill or set of skills, or does it just do the same thing over and over?  

Are the manipulatives meaningful? In many apps, the game interactions are a thinly veiled multiple-choice quiz. For instance, if you have a math problem on the top of the screen and you have to blast the asteroid with the correct answer, that’s multiple-choice. Instead, look for interactivity that lets kids explore concepts being used.  Virtual manipulates give the children to slice something to make fractions, or move objects to make sets.

Is the production high quality? Are the graphics and sound appealing? Great-looking artwork and pleasing sound design are great indicators of a well-produced game.

Were experts involved? If a game publisher has enlisted the help of teachers and educational experts, expect them to tell you that. If you don’t find that information in the app store description, check out the game’s website.

Do you trust the publisher? Have you played another game that you love by the same publisher or developer? Often publishers maintain consistent quality going from app to app.