Mobile App Selection for 5th through 12th Grade Science: The Development of the MASS Rubric

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Computers & Education




Tablets devices for student use present several advantages over laptops and desktops including portability, touch-screen features and numerous applications. However, the magnitude of apps available also presents a challenge for secondary science educators who struggle to select content-appropriate applications that support the development of science literacy and science content acquisition. This paper details the process of creating, developing and testing a mobile science application rubric so as to aid secondary science classroom teachers in selecting and rating science applications for a K-12 student target population and its curricular needs. Quantitative and qualitative data collected during four design cycles resulted in the Mobile App Selection for Science (MASS) Rubric, comprising six items on a four-point response scale. Further comparison of the science content-specific MASS rubric with a general mobile app selection rubric (Evaluation Rubric for Mobile Applications; ERMA) revealed expected results with three item pairs (Pair A, Pair C, and Pair D) demonstrating concurrent validity through significant correlations and one pair (Pair B) displaying the expected divergent validity. Additionally, paired t-tests among each pair indicated a significant difference in participants' ratings of the apps using the two rubrics. The differences in ratings were also in the expected direction given the content-specific nature of MASS versus the more general nature of ERMA.