Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Urbie's iPad (AKA eyepad) app scoring system based on APGAR

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how I use my iPad (eyepad used to mis-direct spammers) in my instructional design (ID) and elearning development  (eD) work. I started blogging about it a couple of weeks ago. I mostly use the ADDIE and ARCS ID models; initially I thought to describe how my eyepad apps work with each phase of the ADDIE model.

While posting my choice of Analysis apps it occurred to me that I was only identifying my favored apps. I wasn't really saying anything about how good a particular app was working for me. What made me think about it is this: I'm a techie from way back. It's in my nature (DNA?) for me to make something work, even though a tremendous amount of work and looking the other way might be involved.

Consider this: back in the mid-90s I had two Apple Newton MessagePads, the Model 100 and 120. I used them for every task related to my technical training work. Were they really effective tools? Not really. I had to overlook that they didn't usually translate my handwriting to text very well for example. Moving data to and from a Newton and a computer was challenging to say the least. Anyway, after thinking about it for a while I began to understand that just saying I used a particular eyepad app in my work wasn't enough. I needed to come up with a semi-objective system to describe how well I think an eyepad app helps me in my ID and eD work.

In the first few minutes after each of my daughters were born someone on the delivery team evaluated her and came up with an APGAR score. Named after Dr. Virginia Apgar the score is used to rate how well a newborn is doing. APGAR has five components: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration. Each component has three possible scores: 0 (not good) to 2 (doing fine). So an APGAR score of 0 is cause for grave concern while a score of 10 is like no worries.

I think APGAR is useful in scoring eyepad apps. I know that some apps I've obtained look great (Appearance score of 2) while crashing immediately after startup (Pulse score of 0). Along these lines I think a Grimace score of 0 means I'm cursing the app while a 2 means I'm smiling ear-to-ear. Rounding it out an Activity score of 0 means the app doesn't come close to doing what its developers claim and Respiration score of 0 means I'm huffing and puffing as I put the app through its paces.

So here we are. Going forwards I'm going to rate the eyepad apps I use in my ID and eD work using my take on APGAR. Over time I expect that crowd(sourcing) will drive me/us towards something that's more efficient/effective. Please let me know what you think about this.

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