Guest Blog: Considerations for selecting apps to meet student needs

May 18, 2011
Education

Hillary Brumer (hillavee) has been a special educator since 1994. She is currently the Assistive Technology Specialist for Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk. ME.  Hillary has received her Master of Science in Education from Simmons College, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from the University of New England, and is currently a […]

Hillary Brumer (hillavee) has been a special educator since 1994. She is currently the Assistive Technology Specialist for Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk. ME.  Hillary has received her Master of Science in Education from Simmons College, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from the University of New England, and is currently a Doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Capella University. She lives in Dayton, Maine with her extremely supportive husband of 15 years and 11 year old son.

With the proliferation of apps in the marketplace, it is rather commonplace to be overwhelmed with selecting the right app for a student. Just as one size does not necessarily fit all when thinking about curriculum, one app doesn’t always fit all either. With budget constraints, various learning needs and styles, it is important to maximize the potential benefits of apps. Below are some considerations of app selection:

1.What is it you want the app to accomplish?

In other words, what is it you want the app to do for your student? Do you want the app to be for learning? Extension of learning? Skill building? Reinforcement? Social Skills? Communication? Other factors? Before searching for an app, it’s important to know what you want the app to do for students.

2. Are there reviews about the app? Where to find the reviews?

App reviews are important. Are the apps rated in the iTunes store? Does Appolicious have a review? Is it helpful? Who is reviewing the apps? In particular, I look at reviews from fellow educators and parents. I have noticed more students are reviewing apps, which is equally informative. After all, they are the target audience.

READ  Top iOS Apps for Learning a New Language

3. Audience (i.e. Student)

Does the student have unique learning challenges? Has the student been identified as a student with a disability? Is the student a second or dual language learner? How old is the student.

4. Is the app customizable?

This is a key feature for me when I’m looking at apps. If I can tailor an app (i.e. turn text on and off depending on the reading needs of a student, enable voice, change the size, etc) then that is a huge asset for teachers. One app can then reach a variety of students with unique learning needs. That is powerful to a teacher that is trying to address a classroom full of unique learning styles and challenges. In other words, is the app universally accessible?

App selection can be overwhelming. I hope that these tips will help you in selecting apps for your needs. Below are some more resources:

Top Apps for Non-Verbal/Autistic/Special Education Students

Prezi: Inside the Mind of an Appoholic

Check out Hillary’s Appolicious App Library here.

Search for more

Hillary Brumer

Hillary Brumer has been a special educator since 1994. She is currently the Assistive Technology Specialist for Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk. ME.  Hillary has received her Master of Science in Education from Simmons College, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from the University of New England, and is currently a Doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Capella University. She lives in Dayton, Maine with her extremely supportive husband of 15 years and 11 year old son.

 

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