Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Five great search tools for Android apps

My school's Pre-Kinder through 2nd grade students have the good fortune to use Android tablets on a daily basis. It's been a fun challenge for us to uncover true, value-added apps for students' use. Our approach has been to first understand the student or classroom curricular need, and then search for apps to support that need, just as we would search for any book, consumable, or other resource. Looking at random lists of apps is ok, and sometimes fruitful, but a more targeted approach tends to be better for us.

Here are our main Android Apps sources (in this case, accessed via web browser). The Google Play Store and the Amazon Android Apps Store can also be searched using their own app, directly from your tablet or phone.

Digital Wish Apps Center - a growing list of reviewed apps (by 'the crowd,' not experts...). Enter search criteria (use search term "Android" to narrow the choices), and then can define by age group, subject, number of reviews, downloads, and more.

Common Sense Media Apps list - both "best of" and "editor's picks" lists. Good search tools - by platform (Android, Nook, iOS, etc.), age level, subject, and skill (e.g., "creativity"). These are reviewed apps, from a trusted source. Common Sense Media is growing this section and I'd expect a lot more apps over time.

Google Apps Play Store Education Section. Search is an option, but surprisingly (since it is Google), it's difficult. If you know of an app developer (Intellijoy, for instance, is an excellent one), search for them and find 'all' their apps. Mass quantities of apps can make the Play Store difficult to find the needle in the haystack. A good start is to look in this Education section, then check top paid or top free apps (crowdsourcing, in a way...). If you know a specific title, this is the place. One upside: if you identify your device, the Play Store will tell you if the app is compatible - important in the Android world.

Amazon Android Apps Search - lots of choices, Best Sellers and other ways to search using Amazon's search tool. Possibly the best set of search tools of all - and will also let you know about 'compatibility' with your identified device.

Appcrawlr - I just found this site, which appears to have some great potential. Can search by an appropriate phrase (e.g.,"grammar"), then by device (iOS tablet or phone, or Android, or a combo). LOTS of search options, and a neat feature that uncovers other, less 'popular' but possibly better apps to use. This tool really deserves a look.

Also, Richard Byrne has a blog about Android Apps where he periodically reviews apps he finds useful. Richard is always a reliable, trusted source.

1 comment:

Brian Murphy said...

For all you teachers, parents, and students there is a great new app called Teacher App by Academically Informed. It is on the Google Play store now with 500+ downloads in the first week. It will be on the Apple market shortly. This app will better connect teachers, parents and students. It will keep parents informed in their childs education as they can view grades, attendance and a calendar of events. Parents can even submit absentee letters through the app. It is by far the most detailed education app on the market, while also being easy to use. Check it out on the android market or visit the website www.academicallyinformed.com.