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  • Writer's pictureJohn Roberts

General Guideline Approach for App Testing in Classrooms

The following guidelines provide a recommended approach to using touchscreen based apps in classrooms based on initial Show Me Workgroup discussions. These guidelines will evolve based on feedback and testing, with the aim of creating a common framework approach across all apps and devices for students, teaching staff and, eventually, parents.

Recommended sessions:

  • 1-to-1, initially guided

  • Short (5-20 minutes)

  • Frequent (daily where possible)

  • Set to appropriate level for each pupil

  • Personalised content within app when and where possible

Set up:

  • Ideally, use touchscreen device separate from devices used for entertainment/play (not essential)

  • Follow operating system procedure to lock into the selected app for the session.

    • For iOS (initial device selected for Show Me testing):

      • Select: Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access > On

      • Set 6 digit passcode

      • Press home button and open chosen app

        • triple click the home button so that the Guided Access screen appears

      • Press Start and Guided Access mode will begin, locked down into one app ▪ Triple click and enter passcode to exit Guided Access

    • For more guidance (plus apps to do the same in Android), view:

    • If app locking not possible, remove distracting apps (eg. youtube) and/or limit access to other online activities (disconnect from internet etc).

Individual Sessions:

1. First session with new app or level/task within the app:

  • Engage student, by using app in presence of student so they can see what it is, what it does and how to do it with verbal prompts

  • Hand the device for them to try it:

    • Observe initial use and guide as appropriate

    • Try hand over hand use if appropriate

    • Leave them with the device and app to explore

      • Evaluate motivation of student and ability to achieve expected learning outcome of app level

2. Subsequent sessions with same level of task of app:

  • Re-introduce app as appropriate from previous session

  • Allow pupil time to use app

  • Observe and evaluate ability to achieve expected and unexpected outcomes.

3. Subsequent sessions with different level or task of apps use:

  • Repeat 1st session approach for each new level, task, activity of app or new apps


The main evaluation objectives for this testing stage of the Show Me app activities are to:

  1. Assess the initial apps for how and why they are motivating for students.

  2. Start to develop a mechanism for quantitative and qualitative measurement of progress towards defined objectives for each app.

  3. Refine and develop the common approach to using the apps in classrooms.

Specifically, the objective is to not compare students in terms of their ability to complete any specific tasks or levels and their progress, although we do want to quantify this for students for the purposes of evaluating the effectiveness of the app and the tasks within it.

Suggested evaluation questions to be considered and completed for each student (using separate template form):

  1. Motivation:

    1. Is it motivating?

    2. Why do you think that is?

    3. For how long?

      1. Per session

      2. How many sessions

    4. What do you think the student is getting out of it?

  2. Learning:

    1. What skills does it target?

    2. Student’s prior ability

    3. Learning Objective

    4. Measurement and tracking of progress towards learning objective:

      1. Qualitative

      2. Quantitative (eg. Mapps: prompting, fluency, maintenance and generalisation)

      3. Other?

    5. Any unexpected outcomes and use?

    6. Recommended progression next steps (same or other app)?

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