Adding Value With Educational Apps
I’ve been thinking a lot about value recently. How much value am I creating? In other words, am I making the world a better place?
Now not everyone can directly make the world a better place. For most of us it is more than enough to just find a way to earn a living that doesn’t hurt others, provide for yourself and family, and contribute to society by simply being a part of it and making our friends’ lives better by being a good person.
But ideally, I want to make a living and make the world better. In other words, get paid to create value.
Looking at my interests and my set of skills, the one thing that comes to mind is creating educational apps. And I have indeed done this from time-to-time. But maybe it is time to get serious about it.
One thing that really upsets me about educational apps is that they are mostly just tests. Want to learn how to multiply? Here are random questions. Get them right and you get a reward of some kind.
I hate this. Computers can do more than just test, they can teach.
But teaching is hard. Testing is easy. Most of the people interested in making these kinds of apps don’t have the expertise to make an app that teaches something. But they can make an app that simply tests.
So I started building a new app called “Learn to Multiply.” There are a lot of apps out there that test multiplication skills. But with mine I want to show students how to do it, step-by-step. Turns out that this is hard to do. And even harder to do well. It took a lot of complex code to create an app that could go through the steps of solving a multiplication problem. I can see why there isn’t such an app in the iOS app store — at least not one of the level of complexity that I’m talking about.
So I’m curious to see what will happen. I’d made it an iPad-only app, which frees up the design a little and I think the iPad is the right device for this. I’m on the fence about pricing. I wanted to make this first app free just to get some feedback. But I think I might get better feedback if I at least charge 99 cents and filter out those that don’t really care.
If this works, and the app gets just a little traction, I have plans to make a lot more educational apps. Maybe even work toward shifting my focus to this “startup” project. I think the real long-term viability is in establishing a brand in this space with a series of apps.