Rubric for Evaluating Apps for DLLs (c)


Rubric for Evaluating Apps for DLLs©

Karen Nemeth,

Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education, Fran S. Simon & Karen Nemeth – Gryphon House

Using Technology as a Teaching Tool for Dual Language Learners in Preschool through Grade 3, Karen Nemeth & Fran Simon, Young Children March 2013   LI: Early Childhood Technology Network


  • What languages are available?
    1. Are additional languages free?
    2. Provided via in-app purchase?
    3. Available by downloading purchasing different versions?


  • What is the complexity of the language used in the app?
    1. One word at a time?
    2. Simple vocabulary that is traditional for preschool but adds little to the child’s ability to communicate or process knowledge (like names of animals, shapes, or colors)
    3. Sentences?
    4. Stories/songs?
    5. Complex activities that require thought and response?


  • In what language was the app written?
    1. Was the app written in English, then translated?
      1. Do the graphics change with the language?
    2. Was the app developed in another language, then translated to English?
    3. Does the developer offer any documentation to support the accuracy of the translation?
    4. Is the whole app available in the two languages?  Or
    5. Are the instructions in English, and some of the activity is provided in another language?


  • Is there any way for the app to grow with the child?
    1. Are there multiple levels?
    2. Is there a way to track what the child has learned or accomplished?


  • Does the app meet with Developmentally Appropriate Practice?
    1. Does the app take a flashcard approach? Or
    2. Does the app engage the child in activity such as singing or solving puzzles or problems? Or
    3. Are there opportunities for children to choose, plan, or create?
    4. Are these opportunities superficial or truly meaningful?
    5. Do the activities and content impart vocabulary and concepts that are connected with the child’s non-screen learning, conversations, and play activities?
    6. Do the activities and content provide clear purpose and connection to each other?


  • Are the images and activities culturally appropriate and free of stereotypes?
    1. Can the child see different cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles represented?
    2. Are there characters and themes that enhance learning by giving the child something he can relate to?
    3. Are the images authentic and meaningful, helping children who speak different languages to make vocabulary connections?


  • How does the app function to support diverse languages?
    1. Can the child or adult record their voice using any language?
    2. If the app is multilingual, does the child have to exit the activity to go back and change a setting to get a new language? OR
    3. Can the child toggle back and forth to different languages while using the app?


  • Does the content of the app meet your specific objectives for each child?
    1. Does it teach “math”? or does it identify specific math skills and levels?
    2. Does the app go beyond promising to “teach” something by providing a way to check if learning happened?


Most importantly: Do you know what you expect each child to accomplish by using the app and have you chosen apps that address to that purpose?










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