YogiPlay unveils YogiMeter to offer transparency on how it rates apps

YogiPlay unveils YogiMeter to offer transparency on how it rates apps

Aug 14, 2012

TRANSPARENCY: YogiPlay, which curates children's apps for based on educational content and quality, is making its guidelines available to the public. (Watch for a press release today--Wednesday--for the specifics.) The cutely-named "YogiMeter" will evaluate apps based on two major categories: engagement (user interaction & experience; levels of intrinsic, extrinsic, and social engagement) and educational quality (learning engagement; concept breadth & depth; real-life relevance; personalization; reporting data). The company so far has rated over 600 apps intended for the 2- to 8-year old set.

Chief Learning Officer Jim Gray (formerly a LeapFrog exec) cautions that calculating these measures isn’t an absolute science; education researchers still butt heads over how to assess what engagement and education really mean. When asked about the major studies his team referenced, he cites research by Stanford's Dan Schwartz, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and the LIFE Center. (Check out Gray's co-authored op-ed in HuffPo for more on his take where learning apps are heading.)

Technicalities and theories aside, the company’s goal in explaining how its YogiMeter works is both to create a standard rubric that’s (fairly) easy for parents to understand, and to encourage developers to create more quality apps based on clearly articulated guidelines. "If you don't define a standard early on, then reviews and ratings don't work and everyone loses," says co-founder Cedric Sellin.

With more and more search-and-discovery tools arriving on the scene, it’s worth pointing out that other groups are also trying to articulate the rules governing their rating systems. Common Sense Media’s guidelines is largely based on age appropriateness and “learning potential,” while Kindertown’s focuses on “educational strategies” and “user features.”

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