How do I know which tablet and app to get?
These are my guidelines for choosing an app and choosing your tablet!
1. What is this device? Ok this may seem too obvious to mention but it really is crucial to consider what you really want this tablet/smartphone for. You see, on top of choosing your hardware options (battery life, portability, storage, ect.) you will want to consider the platform your device runs. Will you be purchasing you apps from the Apple App Store or the Andriod Market? Your son loves this spelling game your niece has, but do they sell it on Google Play? Do you have tons of apps for you phone that won’t transfer if you choose a different tablet?
Before you invest, take some time to research what is available on your tablet of choice, are the apps mostly free, $0.99, or more. What seems like an initial savings can quickly be reversed when it comes times to upgrade those apps to the full version (just ask my tax accountant –aka the husband- who was pleasantly surprised by last year’s investment).
2. What is the purpose of my device? Again seemingly obvious, but infinitely important. Everyone loves the mini versions- they are easy to carry, nicely fit in all your bags, and so lightweight. However, they are not always the best choice. Is this primarily for communication? Will you or your child be carrying it around everywhere? Do you need a strap to carry it hands-free? What about visual acuity, how well does your child see the buttons? Are you planning to use the device primarily for educational purposes or executive function (calendars, alarms ect)? All of these factors change the desired size, portability, battery needs, and the need for storage. It is important to know what the primary focus of this device will be to ensure you are meeting all your needs. This choice should be a team decision, based on what your child needs and what will benefit them the most.
3. FINALLY- The apps! A process called feature matching allows you to compare the features of any given app to your needs and see how it stacks up! A quick internet search will provide many rubrics you can choose from. Also get ready to use your resources: ask friends, teachers, and your therapists. They will know if an app appropriately targets your child’s goals, if it can grow with him or her. I love to try lite versions and get a feel for the app before I buy the full version. And lastly, remember, apps are a great way to sneak some skill development into a break time but it can’t take the place of teaching and generalization- so practice lots of different ways!