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What Parents can Learn from Apple's Guide for Teachers

SUREN on May 31, 2014

The App Store and the Google Play store have hundreds of thousands of apps, many of them with great educational value. It is no mean task to identify the right apps for students. Apple has published an official guide to help teachers, titled "Apps in the Classroom - Using iOS Apps for Teaching and Learning".

Apple's Official Guide - Apps in the Classroom

If you’re just getting started teaching with apps, it’s helpful to begin by setting goals for student learning. What must students understand? What should their interaction with apps look like? And which apps would work best for your specific lesson plans? You may find that choosing an app is easier after carefully considering what you want students to do with it, and why.
 
While the guide offers a birds-eye-view, it is nevertheless quite relevant and insightful. What can we learn, as parents, from the guide to help us navigate the wonderful world of apps? The guide offers five key considerations to evaluate and select apps:
  1. Engagement - Is the app intuitive, keep your kids interested, and makes them want to use it again?
  2. Appropriateness - Does the user interface, design and subject matter appeal to your child's age level?
  3. Instructional Design - Is the app aligned with what you want your kids to learn from it, and is it effective in achieving its goal?
  4. Motivation - Are gaming principles used in the app, and does the app balance the gaming aspect enough to help prevent distractions?
  5. Accessibility - Does the app accommodate special needs that your kids might have?

Pretty straightforward? Well, the next step is to use these principles to uncover the hidden gems among educational apps. We followed these very principles to come up with our own list of apps that will engage kids enough to let them play and learn at the same time. See the list in this article - Top 10 Apps for Kids to Play & Learn. The guide concludes:

It’s an exciting time of innovation in learning. We’re seeing apps that provide engaging, Multi-Touch, rich experiences that were never before possible. Have fun exploring the amazing world of education apps.

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