Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Buy or Not to Buy That is the Question

How do you decide which apps to purchase? The first thing I did was look back at last year’s lesson plans and created a 6 box grid with the topics that I teach. You should know that I teach all subjects in fifth grade, so I had a wide variety of app choices. For example, I start with North America Geography so I looked for apps that supported locating the 50 states.

I considered the following questions when I was choosing apps.

*How will the app extend the students learning?
*How can the app help students create something new?
*How will the app help students review a skill?
*Would this app increase a student’s motivation for a difficult skill?
*Does the app have different levels of learning for all students?

Obviously not every app is going to meet every criteria and the process has been interesting for me. I thought I had found what I considered a great app after previewing the write up and then I purchased it. Some apps had boring graphics, poor sound quality, and were too confusing. The biggest lesson I learned about apps is that they do not come with directions. As a teacher, I love directions and for most apps you just have to play with them to figure them out. This became frustrating for me; however, I have found some wonderful apps to start the school year with in a few weeks.

Drum roll please, the app that made the cut for geography was PopGeo USA Geography I like it because it has the students place the 50 states (5 at a time) it extends the learning because the students can learn the capitals, famous cities as well as national parks. I can't wait to introduce the class to this app.
Turning the iPod sideways helps to play most apps.

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