SnapSchool

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
SnapSchool App Poster Image
Crowdsourcing app for homework answers iffy and buggy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can't learn much of anything, unfortunately. Though the idea is that kids can post homework questions and get input from others, there's no way to know whether the answers are correct, and there's not much explanation of how the answers were found, so learning falls short. Instead of using SnapSchool, students would be better served by small-group or classroom-based social media options for homework discussion.

Ease of Play

Posting answers and questions, especially using photos, is buggy and doesn't always work well.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Homework stream includes ads for other apps by the developer. Kids can purchase in-app tokens and gems to get more homework help.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SnapSchool is a social network that lets kids post their homework questions or help other kids with their homework. It's for students in the sixth grade and above, but there are no age restrictions in the terms of service. Kids create an account by entering a username, password, birth date, and grade level. They can also connect through their Facebook login, in which case their full name is visible to anyone using the app. Kids earn tokens and gems for answering other kids' homework questions and for their answers getting "up votes"; then they can redeem tokens and gems to post their own homework questions. Additional token and gem packs are available as in-app purchases. For details about the kind of information the app collects and shares, read the privacy policy.

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What's it about?

After creating a SNAPSCHOOL account via Facebook or by entering an email address and a birth date, students select a grade level from sixth through post-graduate. They then see a feed showing the titles students have given their posts; clicking a title brings up the screenshot another student submitted of their homework with any comments or questions they've added. Other students can post an answer as well as give other posted answers a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Kids can also share other people's homework questions via connected social media or report inappropriate content, violent language, spam, or illegible posts. By answering other kids' questions or through in-app purchase, they can get tokens and gems and redeem those to post their own homework questions.

Is it any good?

Crowdsourcing homework help is not the best way to learn, and the implementation of this social media model further fails for several reasons. Ethically, some may consider it outright cheating; practically speaking, kids can't be sure they're getting accurate help or answers, even with up votes. Beyond those issues, the app just doesn't work well. Posting answers from the camera roll, which is the more effective way to demonstrate a math problem, causes crashes. Often the pictures are at strange angles or too blurry to read. Also, it seems there are very few responses and lots of questions; when there are responses, they often conflict with each other. Finally, there's no urgency to getting answers. Most kids posting homework problems are looking for immediate help, which can't be guaranteed via the social media model here. Though they can use a 72-hour "boost" in exchange for a gem, there's still no guarantee they'll get an answer in time. Though the idea of a quick fix is attractive to a frustrated student, help from a teacher, tutor, or parent is a much better bet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about more reliable ways kids can find help with their homework, such as teacher tutorials, studying with classmates, or asking parents for help.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of this type of system. Getting answers might be helpful, but are there drawbacks as well?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Communication: asking questions, conveying messages effectively
    Collaboration: cooperation
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (Users can purchase tokens and gems to redeem for more help.)
  • Release date: October 1, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 23.10 MB
  • Publisher: digiSchool
  • Version: 3.1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up

For kids who love homework help

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