Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where do I find good apps?

Parents and teachers are always asking, "where can I go to find good, teacher-tested, high quality apps?

We all know there are tons of great apps out there - some good, some not so good. Just because an app isn't free, it doesn't mean it's worth paying for. At the same time, some of the best free apps really are, well, the best. How do you know? Wouldn't it be great if there was an app preview service? After all, once you buy an app, you can't return it if it doesn't meet your expectations. There's also no 30 day trial option for apps.

For that reason, I wanted to provide teachers, therapists and parents with a sampling of the many sites out there that trial educational apps and give an overview of each from a teacher or parent's perspective. Many of these sites will categorize apps not only by subject but by age group/grade level, ability and skill focus. There's quite a bit of overlap of course but these sites may provide that kind of detailed information. For example, an app that focuses on letter identification and formation may be great for a pre-school teacher but it could also be very valuable to an occupational therapist who is working on pencil (stylus) grip and fine motor control.

The next time you are looking for a specific type of app, check out these sites:

APPitic: a directory of apps listed by Apple's Distinguished Educators This site includes apps for students of varying grade levels and subjects as well as apps for students with special needs. Reviews are thorough and include detailed information about target audience, theme, features, activities and price. It also includes multiple screenshots.

Best Apps for Kids: This site is run by a group of parents and grandparents who see the iPad as an invaluable educational tool. The site includes a searchable database with video previews of apps. You'll find valuable information such as required in-app purchases and the possibility of inappropriate ads but you won't find prices or ratings.

KinderTown: A listing of high quality, tested and previewed apps for children aged 3-8 yrs.

Teachers With Apps: A pair of teachers have teamed up to provide reviews of apps appropriate for students by level; baby/toddler, pre-k, elementary, intermediate and high school. There is also a category for related services and special needs.

Apps for Children for Special Needs: True to its name, this site provides information and video reviews of apps focused on special needs. Their community has started a non-profit organization providing over 140 iPads for special needs kids. The site provides a space for developers to advertise their apps however, only  apps that meet high quality standards and expectations are listed. I highly recommend this site.

Bridging Apps: Another great site with all apps previewed by either clinicians or teachers and trialed with students with special needs. The site is provided as a service by the Easter Seals of Greater Houston.

1 comment:

  1. Great List Janet! Another place I find helpful App reviews is School Library Journals's e-newsletter. Info for accessing can be found here http://blogs.slj.com/touchandgo/2012/10/16/touch-and-go-has-moved/