Evaluating Apps: Advice for the Digital Immigrant

Doug Bowen-Bailey headshot wearing CIT shirtby Doug Bowen-Bailey
CIT Webmaster

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Evaluating Apps

Cardboard box containing the icons of a variety of appsAs a person who works with web sites and technology, I often get asked for advice about what apps are helpful in a variety of settings. I was planning on writing this month about using Kahoot, which is a survey tool that my kids use at school and which is designed to help increase student engagement.
Then, I went to a conference in Minnesota where Thomas Nechodomu, who works at the University of Minnesota’s office of Digital Education & Innovation, presented his answer that that question.  Instead of sharing a specific app, which often are outdated by the next week, he instead shares a checklist of things to consider when deciding whether or not to adopt an app for classroom use.  It is, as he said, a “teaching you to fish” approach, rather than just handing out fish filets.
So, I offer you the checklist developed by his office. You can download the PDF of the complete checklist.  In using the list, the more boxes you check, the more likely it is to be an effective tool for your classroom.
Logo for Digital Education and Innovation - CEHD - College of Education + Human Development
App Evaluation Checklist 
Downloaded from http://mn.gov/deaf-commission/assets/App%20Evaluation%20Checklist_tcm1063-202503.pdf on April 5, 2016

  • Meets your needs (e.g., the use of the app is relevant to the learning objectives).
  • The current version of the app has a good rating in the App Store (3 stars or better) or other App Review Resource (see below).
  • The majority of user reviews are positive.
  • Help or a tutorial is available within the app.
  • Has a support website or online community of users.
  • Content, including advertising, is appropriate.
  • Information is error-free, factual, and reliable.
  • Content can be exported, copied, printed, or otherwise shared.
  • Settings and/or content can be customized.
  • Easy to use.
  • Works with accessibility options.
  • Appropriate cost (i.e., meets your budget).
  • No in-app purchases are required to use the app as intended.
  • Has been updated recently.
  • Promotes creativity and imagination.
  • Provides opportunities to use higher order thinking skills (e.g., analysis, creation).
  • Promotes collaboration and idea sharing
  •  Provides useful feedback.

Checklist Sources: