Sunday, February 5, 2012

App Rubric to guide you in app selection

There are over 100,000 apps in the app store according to Apple. As an educator and AT Specialist I was struggling with the evaluating apps for the students that I support. How do you know if the app is right for the goal you are working on with your student? I searched and found no information on how to judge the app with the details I needed for the special needs population. Most of the 100,000 apps in the app store do not have the features that are needed for the some of the special needs population but in general they do not have the needs of the general population. We are a country/world of many languages however most apps do not support multiple languages at least in the American app store. 

The purpose of the rubric is to help guide your choices, it is not the end all. Just because an app score lower on the rubric doesn’t mean that it does not support a specific student needs. For example, an app that is used for behavior management such as the Autism 5-Point Scale EP is not going to get a high number on the rubric.The question you need to continually ask yourself is: Does this APP meet the students’ needs or specific goal you are working on? If the answer is YES then that is what matters. It also means that you can continue your search for an app with those features you like in that app but may offer you growth potential. This rubric was designed to address academic selection. I needed something that could offer a more objective way to view the apps. Most times when you read reviews it is subjective. I wanted something that was free of emotion or  or personal prejudices.

There are many wonderful app review sites out there that can lead you in the right direction. They give their point of view about the app but since they don't know your student the review cannot tell you if it will meet your students needs. It is important to evaluate the app yourself. If you don’t have the app check to see if your friends have the app so you can have hands on time. Contact your local lending center in your state to see if they have the app so you can borrow it, try it, and evaluate it. It isn’t enough to watch a video of the app you are thinking of purchasing, having someone else point out the highlights of the app

Please offer some feedback on the app rubric. If you would like to see something added or wording changed.

Here is the link to the Rubric that was developed. Please note that I am always adjusting the rubric so check back to see if it has changed.