This proposed presentation discusses the essential criteria for the evaluation of iOS-based K-12 critical thinking mobile applications (apps) and reports on the findings of an evaluation study. (The study examines iOS-based apps on the App Store because it offers most educational apps.) The study attempts to answer the following two questions: (a) what are the criteria that are conducive to the selection of critical thinking apps for K-12 students?, and (b) what are the apps available that meet the criteria? Scholars have widely recognized that critical thinking is key to students’ personal and professional success. Educators have accordingly developed curricula, instructional strategies, and assessments to enhance students’ critical thinking. Recently, the educational community has integrated technological innovations, such as apps, into instruction that fosters critical thinking. However, the lack of evidence-based guidelines in the selection of the apps can undermine instructional effectiveness. This study fills this void by adapting an evidence-based evaluation instrument and subsequently uses the instrument to identify quality critical thinking apps for K-12 students. The instrument contains three major evaluation categories (i.e., content, pedagogy, and design) that researchers consider essential in critical thinking instruction and app design. Each category includes a list of evidence-based items. With the assistance of the instrument, the study uncovers a limited number of apps that meet the criteria. This presentation shares the findings of the evaluation, highlights three critical thinking apps that are considered having educational values, and discusses implications for future practice and research.
Teresa Chen, California State University-Long Beach, United States
Ronnie Yeh, California State University, Long Beach, United States