Kodiak vs. SmarTots: Our approach

Over the last two weeks, we’ve talked to quite a few app developers who are looking to incorporate classroom management and reporting features into their apps. There are great reasons to add these features:

  • Your apps will most likely be used by multiple children. It might be two kids sharing an iPad in the back of a car, or thirty kids sharing a classroom set of five iPads during an activity center.
  • High scores lists just don’t cut it: teachers and parents need to be able to look at the progress of each child using your app individually, and understand their learning over time.
  • As more and more iPads find their way into homes and schools, educators are looking to use the iPad for secondary assessment. It’s no longer about drilling on multiplication facts or spelling words. Your app should help teachers gauge class progress, understand their student’s learning needs, and more.

Kodiak makes it easy to add these features to your app—using our SDK, you can add classroom management, cloud syncing, and progress reporting features to your app for free. SmarTots is similar in many ways—their SDK also allows parents and teachers to set up student profiles within your app, and they track how much time students spend in your app. But the comparison ends there.

Here’s how we offer a stronger solution:

  • The SmarTots SDK only tracks the amount of time kids spend in different apps. They claim to be able to show kids improving, but it’s all based on the assumption that time=learning. Kodiak records the questions students are answering, the amount of time they spend on each question, and other information developers feel is relevant, such as the difficulty level kids are working at within the app. Our algorithms turn the data into insights for parents and teachers and make sure it’s presented beautifully. We can tell a teacher that 7 of 10 kids using your spelling app missed the same questions, that Billy is speeding through questions without answering them, and more.
  • We provide much richer feedback to educators, and we emphasize insights from data. Because it only tracks time spent in apps, SmarTots isn’t all that useful to teachers, who—in a lot of cases—are already familiar with how long students are spending on class iPads. We want to make the iPad useful as a supplemental assessment tool, which means providing much richer feedback for teachers.
  • We’ve worked to design interfaces that will look good in a wide range of apps. We’ve spoken with developers who have complained that SmarTots interface is pretty bad and lowers the quality of their app. We’re user experience researchers and developers ourselves, and we care a lot about the way our partner apps look to users!
  • We’ve designed Kodiak for schools and one-to-one programs, not just for parents. We’re only a few months into our release, and we already have schools lining up to take part in a beta of Kodiak for Schools. Kodiak provides teachers with a live view of what students are doing in your app, and you can save student achievements, difficulty settings, etc.. in the cloud so students can use any iPad in their classroom. We plan to market Kodiak to schools heavily, which means more sales for you!
We want to create an ecosystem of the best educational apps, and we’re looking to partner with developers like you. Learn more about our SDK and join our developer program for free at http://www.kodiakreporting.com/. Help us build a platform that delivers data-driven insights to educators from the best apps out there. Together, we’ll leading the advancement of apps in education.

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