How To Choose The Best Educational Apps

Every parent knows this: kids just love smartphones, tablets, ipads. It’s wonderful to watch how they approach them intuitively, and how quickly they understand the way these work. One of the main reasons for this is because of the myriad of attractive games  tablets and smartphones offer kids.  But as dozens and dozens of apps appear every day, us as parents might wander how to pick and find the best apps for our children, particularly the educational ones that make our children both pleasurably play and learn! Sometimes it might be hard to navigate through the world of educational apps without a clear guidance. Sites such as Appolearning and MindLeap help us navigate the crowded world of educational apps by relying on experts that help us choose the best to our children.

Appolearning  is a directory of educational apps, based on the advice of experts, that select and rate the best educational apps.  Appolearning is part of Appolicious, a company founded by Alan Warms, an entrepreneur coming from Chicago and a father of a seven year old.  Previously,  Adam Warms  worked at Yahoo!  as General Manager of  Yahoo! News, Tech, and Education, where he led the development of the first major site redesign in 3.5 years. In 2009 Warms founded Appolicious Inc. which is a directory of apps. With Appolearning, Warms wanted to develop a directory that assessed educational apps in a more profound way as he thought that the market lacked a more in-depth analysis of this segment of the market.

In Alan´s opinion, given in this interview to Robert Scoble,  more than to be based on the ratings coming out of 200 anonymous raters, parents and teachers are thriving  for a rating system that is more transparent and  done by experts on educational areas.

AppoLearning functions as a specialized search engine and it is easy to navigate. As such, you will find in Appolearning a directory that organizes apps categorizing them by four school-age groups: early childhood, elementary school, middle school, high school,  and through various educational subject matters. Each application is given a score, that is detailed on a “report card” and the site offers the user very valuable videoreviews that both explains how the app works, and the criteria through which the app is rated. Those ratings are done by experts, that are both experienced classroom teachers, and people very interested and savvy in technology. A valuable thing is that we can read the raters cv and have access to their contact.  Each of them makes curated reviews of apps,  as they pick the five best educational apps to a particular subject.

Another website that helps you finding the best educational apps to your child is Mindleap, that works in a similar way to Appolearning.

Mindleap was founded by moms and educators, that previously started a school in Oakland, California — Escuela Bilingüe Internacional (EBI). According to Heather Barber, the co-founder of MindLeap, the project came out of the desire “to know which apps were actually educational and to be able to find them with just a few clicks” . A former teacher, Heather noticed how hard it was to navigate through the thousands of ‘educational apps’ to find the ones that were age appropriate and that had “really any educational value”.  Mind Leap’s Educational App Navigator assesses apps in three areas:

  • Educational value – Does learning happen when the app is used?
  • Engagement factor – Are kids engaged in the app, do they like it and want to use it?
  • Shelf life – Do kids want to use the app again and again?

A detailed description of what it means to be rated one-through five-stars can be found on their site, which helps parents and educators interpret the ratings. The mission of Mind Leap is to influence the field of educational apps, to drive the development of quality apps that really leverage the best of today’s technology. By mapping the field of educational apps with their Educational App Navigator, Mind Leap helps developers identify the gaps in the current offerings. Mindleap has guest reviewers that share their expertise with the Mind Leap community.

Both MindLeap and AppoLearning provide parents and educators valuable tools to discover the best apps to new generations of children.