Responsible Reviewing: How KinderTown Reviews Apps

At KinderTown, we believe mobile devices can be tremendous teaching tools in the hands of knowledgeable parents.

At KinderTown, we believe mobile devices can be tremendous teaching tools in the hands of knowledgeable parents. We sort through thousands of apps and “KinderTown Approve” the ones that stand up to our educational expectations. Each approved app is categorized by learning objectives and receives a brief, personalized review so parents can make better decisions about which apps fit their child’s individual needs. That’s what we do. Here’s what’s unique about how we do it:

 

We Buy Apps

We search for apps, get suggestions from parents, and talk to developers about what they are publishing. If we think an app appears worth reviewing, then we purchase the app and evaluate it using our review matrix which integrates both the latest in education research and what we know as educators and parents. We do this not only to ensure our reviews are as objective as possible, but because we want to financially support the developer community. We’re rooting for all of you!

 

“Buy App”? Don’t mind if we do!

 

We Don’t Show You Stars or Rankings

If the app is on KinderTown – we recommend it! We don’t delineate between 4 stars or 5 stars because at that point, it’s up to the parent to decide what’s best for a specific child. Our aim is to give parents the tools and information to make that decision simpler. Simple is what we’re all about, and there’s nothing simpler than saying every KinderTown approved app provides a top-notch educational experience.

 

Look Mom! No stars!

 

Crowd-Ratings Don’t Factor Into Our Reviews

There are many apps on iTunes that have a 5-star rating that we would not use with our own children. There are also apps receiving little recognition which create a wonderful learning experience. We have yet to see a crowd-rating system that we trust. Perhaps that will change, but until it does, it will not affect our opinion of an app.

 

Top Charts? More like “So What” Charts.

 

We Understand How Challenging App Development Is

We know because we’ve done it. We’ve taken an app from concept to launch and encountered every challenge along the way, from balancing fun and learning efficacy, to figuring out how to market in the app store. We never intended to be an app developer, but we wanted to be able to empathize with the hardworking developers we evaluate every day. We also wanted to better understand the technology and what is possible. Understanding the tools is as important as understanding what goes into creating an effective learning environment.

 

It’s not easy being here.

 

What We Look For In an App

Recommending apps for children ages 3 to 6 is not a simple task, but essentially, all of our methods of evaluation are designed to satisfy three objectives:

 

• To provide apps that are developmentally appropriate. We look for apps that provide quality social, emotional and physical learning experiences.

• To provide apps with clear learning objectives. We really like apps that are more than an interactive worksheet. Yet, we also look specifically for apps that support children who benefit from repetitive activities or calm, game-free environments.

• To provide apps that children and adults can use together. Interaction is key for young children; we hunt down apps that increase parent and child connections.

 

Our Work Is Never Finished

We are a business that is built upon providing the best resources. Our mission is to improve early childhood education by empowering parents with the tools to be better teachers. In order to maintain the highest of standards we understand that:

 

• As each “KinderTown Approved” app continually changes through new versions, we need to go back and remove apps that are no longer meeting our standards.

• We are lifetime learners. The way we review today will evolve through experience. To be responsible reviewers we will modify our standards as we read new research, work with children, and obtain feedback from parents.

 

Hopefully this helps you better understand what we’re trying to achieve with KinderTown and how we go about providing the resources and information that make a parent’s job of finding the best educational apps for their little ones easier.

 

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