July 27, 2017

“App Store” for Teachers: APPitic

From

Popular resource features a category for Bloom’s Taxonomy

A student uses apps at the Euroamerican School of Monterrey in Mexico.

Alline Sada knows her apps. The teacher and technology specialist has curated more than 100 lists of the digital tools and wanted to share. So she helped create APPitic, an online guide to apps for learning, which includes a category for Bloom’s Taxonomy.

“There’s a lot of concern about how apps tie in to education and thinking skills,” says Sada, the technology coordinator and integration specialist at Euroamerican School of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. So on APPitic, “Bloom’s verbs” is one way in which educators can find the tools they need in key subject areas.

Clearly, teachers and librarians are taking to the site. Since its November 2011 launch, APPitic has attracted more than 41,000 users, who can peruse more than 1,300 apps reviewed there.

Most would agree—finding the best apps to use with students has largely been a hit-or-miss experience. Many educators prefer to find apps via word-of-mouth recommendations or through Twitter. And the App Store hasn’t helped. Users have trouble navigating the selection on Apple’s site and say they don’t trust the reviews, believing some are planted. (Apple did not return repeated requests for comment.)

“Frankly I don’t use [Apple’s App store] because it’s so huge,” says Kathy Kaldenberg, a librarian at Solon Community School District in eastern Iowa. “It just doesn’t seem geared to educators.” Sada gets that. To help colleagues, she spends hours using “Power Search” on iTunes, mining themes, and downloading and playing with apps. Helping Sada are Hannah Rollwitz, of the American School Foundation (ASF) in Mexico City, Brian Zink of ASF in Guadalajara, and Alberto Valdes, of the Euroamerican School of Monterrey, Mexico.

Commenting on APPitic is restricted to Apple Distinguished Educators, a member group that uses Apple products in the classroom. And while anyone who visits the site can suggest an app for inclusion, Sada has final say. The overall vetting process creates quality control.

Shannon Miller, district teacher librarian and tech specialist for Van Meter (IA) Community School District, appreciates that. She says the site helps her find apps she knows will work for her K–12 students and teachers. “I can look at [APPitic’s] front page and scroll down and see people I know working with [an app],” which makes it a reliable source, says Miller.

John Schumacher, a teacher-librarian at Brook Forest School in Oak Brook, IL, agrees. While he’s willing to pay for an app, he needs to know it will fit his purpose. “If you’re going to spend the money, you want to make sure it’s good,” says Schumacher, who, like many educators, pays for apps out of his own pocket.

That’s why Sada is so committed to APPitic; she invests 10 to 15 hours a week managing the site. New elements include an “Electricity & Magnetism” category and a section devoted to students with special needs and autism. APPitic may also incorporate student reviews. They’re not in a rush to start selling ads or featured reviews, says Sada, “so we can focus on providing high-quality content and insights.”

Other recommended resources:

iPads in Education

Touch and Go

Favorites of Shannon Miller:

Apps in Education

Get hAPPy

Appsfire

Bloomin’ iPad

Langwitches Blog

Favorites of Kathy Kaldenberg:

Mobile Devices in the Library

iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Users Group on Diigo

 

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Lauren Barack About Lauren Barack

School Library Journal contributing editor Lauren Barack writes about the connection between media and education, business, and technology. A recipient of the Loeb Award for online journalism, she can be found at www.laurenbarack.com.