With new apps emerging daily, finding the right ones for your kids can be a task as you sort through thousands of already available apps on the market. Julie Laviolette shares some of her favorite places to find educational apps for kids:
“Parents looking for educational apps have to do their homework. With more than 700,000 apps on iTunes alone, searching for quality apps can be overwhelming. But independent app review sites, often run by parents or teachers, can offer much-needed guidance.
“Finding great educational and fun apps for kids can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, unless you have a few trusted and unbiased review sites to rely on,” said Carisa Kluver, a mom and founder of Digital-Storytime.com.
The biggest challenge that educational app shoppers face is that app stores lump apps together in huge categories.
“Shoppers are surrounded by a world of people whose best interest it is to sell them an app with very few clear, knowledgeable voices saying the things we do,” said Ron Engel, who runs SmartAppsForKids.com.
Here are six sites that can help:
With more than 600 reviews of iPad book apps for readers 2-12, Digital Storytime rates apps on educational value, originality, animation and interactivity. Users can sort by category, language, age group and price. The site also has top 10 lists, news of free and discounted apps, and “The Digital Media Diet” blog about digital publishing and parenting in the digital age.
Run by Digital Storytime, this site is a good resource for the bargain shopper. It lists price drops and free apps in the book app, educational apps and game app categories.
With 1.2 million visits in 2012, this is the kids’ app site with the most traffic. “We give bad reviews and publish them. There are almost no kids’ app review sites that do that,” owner Ron Engel said. “But I think if you truly want to serve your readers, you want to be a resource that they can rely on for honesty and as much info as possible.” The site reviews kids’ educational apps, games and books. There is a “Top 100 Free Apps” list and a “Good Free App of the Day” feature.
AppyMall, a marketplace for educational apps, was launched by Technology in Education, a popular review site, to help teachers and parents find quality children’s apps. AppyMall allows users to search for educational apps by grade level and learning skill, such as math, language arts, or reading. Apps are divided into anchor stores that organize book, game and educational apps into categories such as preschool, elementary school, middle school, speech and language, special needs and apps with lesson plans.
Co-founded by educators Jayne Clare and Anne Rachel, this site offers reviews based on extensive field-testing by parents, teachers and children. “Our site is a top notch, reliable resource for truly educational apps,” Rachel said. “We are currently in the process of developing an App Certification Program. Apps will have to meet certain criteria to earn this honor.”
The iMums are a group of four moms who met online while searching for and reviewing apps for their own children. The iMums are founder Amanda Powell of Australia, Alison Hirst of the U.S., Grace Shirley Chong of Singapore and Mary Mahon, a United Kingdom native now living in the U.S. Collectively, the group has 11 children ages 1 to 18.
“We are all part of one global community of parents, teachers, therapists and developers from around the world who come together to talk about the best children’s apps, and how to make them even better,” Mahon said. “It is amazing to work with the other iMums from around the globe. We have a common goal of ensuring that our children get the best learning opportunities from these devices and are protected from inappropriate content.”
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