The YogiMeter: YogiPlay's New Rating System Guides Parents Through The Dense Jungle Of Kids Apps

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The Educator-Approved YogiMeter Clears A Path To The Best Kid Apps On The Market

YogiPlay, the first personalized mobile learning recommendation service designed specifically for children, is announcing the YogiMeter, their new rating system for mobile learning apps. Frustrated by generic app reviews, misleading descriptions and a general lack of insight on how and which learning apps deliver educational value, YogiPlay’s team developed the YogiMeter app rating system using the latest in early childhood education research.

The YogiMeter rating system is a developmentally-based framework that evaluates learning apps on the basis of both their engagement value and educational quality, and will be used by YogiPlay’s in-house team of early childhood educators to consistently evaluate apps that the company recommends to parents in its Parent Center (downloadable from Google Play or through any YogiPlay enabled app).

The YogiMeter app rating system will provide parents with advice about how to select high-quality educational apps for their children and to guide developers in creating apps with top-quality learning design. YogiPlay’s educators have already reviewed more than 600 kid apps for iPhones, iPads, Nooks, Kindles and Android devices, with more reviews in this new system added every day.

The YogiMeter app rating system is based on a unique educational rubric developed by Dr. Jim Gray, the Chief Learning Officer at YogiPlay. Dr. Gray has a Doctorate in Education from Harvard, was the former Director of Learning at LeapFrog and has experience as a preschool teacher. Dr. Gray is also the father of twin toddlers.

According to Dr. Gray, “There are hundreds of kid apps in the app store. As a parent, unless you have a background in early childhood development, it’s almost impossible to determine if the app you’ve downloaded will actually provide the learning value you’re expecting.”

“We do the hard work of evaluating literally hundreds of apps for their design quality, ease-of-use, structure of content, learning activities and more. With our new rating system, parents now have a trusted educator-approved resource for vetting the very best in high-quality learning apps on the market today. Long-term, our goal with YogiPlay’s new rating system is to help parents become more educated consumers when it comes to their children’s learning apps,” Dr. Gray said.

The comprehensive app assessment criteria will also be used to support all YogiPlay-related app reviews, blog posts, newsletters, and other materials designed to help parents better understand what makes a high-quality educational app.

Dan Schwarts, professor at Stanford University’s School of Education and Co-Director of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE), a National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Center says, "With this app review system, YogiPlay provides expert analysis of the dimensions that learning scientists know are the most important. YogiPlay could become the Consumer Reports of learning technology."

How does the YogiMeter App Rating System work?

The system evaluates apps in two main areas: Engagement Value and Educational Quality.

For Engagement Value, the rating system analyzes the following five areas:

User Interactions — Will my child understand how to use the app? For example, will my child have the fine motor skills to navigate around the app, and the cognitive ability to understand the available options?

User Experience — Should my child use this app? For example, is the app age-appropriate in its approach to privacy, in-app purchases, and content?

Intrinsically Motivated Engagement — Will my child feel an inner motivation to use this app? For example, will it support expressing curiosity, artistic creativity, or imaginative role play?

Extrinsically Motivated Engagement — Will my child receive external rewards and information that motivate him/her to continue playing with the app? For example, does the app offer praise, feedback, or awards for achievements?

Socially motivated engagement — Will the app facilitate collaboration with other children, parents, family members? For example, does it have a multi-player mode with clearly defined roles?

And for Educational Quality, the rating system also analyzes five specific areas, including:

Engaged in Learning — Will my child learn anything? For example, is s/he likely to achieve the app’s stated learning goals, or its unstated potential?

Deeper Learning — Will my child learn fundamental concepts? For example, will my child learn to understand the concept of quantity by counting virtual objects and not just to recite the words “one, two, three...”?

Authentic Learning — Will the learning be relevant to the real world? For example, will my child learn techniques on a virtual keyboard that can also be used on our family piano?

Personalized / Differentiated Learning — Will the app adjust to my child’s individual needs? For example, does it automatically present harder or easier problems depending on my child’s performance?

Reporting — Can I see my child’s progress or sample work? For example, can I see how much time my child spent on each level of difficulty? Can I see a portfolio of his/her art work?

After a close analysis, only those apps that meet the rigorous standards set forth by the YogiMeter app rating system will be promoted by YogiPlay.

"Moving beyond traditional media methods, Jim and the YogiPlay team take a fresh approach to assessing children’s experience on multi-touch screens. It's a promising strategy informed by solid principles of child development that both media researchers and parents will be wise to follow," said Ellen Wartella, Professor of Communication, Psychology, Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

“We’re very excited about this approach,” said Dr. Jim Gray. “We think parents will feel more confident with apps that have been thoroughly vetted using a developmentally-based rating system.”

MORE ABOUT YOGIPLAY
YogiPlay is the first personalized mobile learning apps recommendation engine designed specifically for children from ages 3 to 8. YogiPlay provides parents with valuable insight into their child’s learning and play patterns, along with meaningful personalized app recommendations tailor-made to meet each child’s specific learning needs. YogiPlay is now available on Apple devices, Android devices, Nook and Kindle, so look for YogiPlay-boosted apps in your preferred app marketplace, or download the YogiPlay Parent Center app from Google Play. YogiPlay is a venture-backed company with investment partners that include DN Capital and Richmond Park Partners. To learn more about YogiPlay, please visit our website: http://www.yogiplay.com

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Tim Donovan

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