Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019
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AppClinic - Saving Lives!

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Easy-to-use CPR refresher looks nice but lacks enough guidance

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Science
  • Health & Wellness

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
6–12
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Pros: Attractive, uncluttered interface; music beats during chest compressions.

Cons: Guidelines not well-integrated into the action; lacks useful feedback; price higher than expected.

Bottom Line: This app would be a good intro to -- or refresher for -- CPR training, but could be improved with a lot more depth and feedback.

Since AppClinic - Saving Lives! isn't designed to teach CPR, it's best used either as an introduction to what's involved in performing CPR and using an AED or as a refresher to help jog students' memories after they've been certified. It can be included in an after-school program or integrated into a biology or health unit. Students will get the most out of the app if specific procedures and guidelines are reviewed in depth before its use and if CPR-certified teachers watch as students use it so that they can give additional feedback. Have students begin with the Guided/Layperson settings, gradually progressing to the Independent/Professional settings once they learn what they must do to attempt to save the patient.

Note: This app isn't intended to be used as a substitute for proper CPR certification classes.

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AppClinic - Saving Lives! is an app designed to help students practice their CPR skills. It's based on the current American Heart Association guidelines. Students implement the proper steps necessary in a simulated emergency situation to try to keep a patient alive while they wait for an ambulance, focusing on chest compressions and rhythm. Players begin by encountering an unresponsive person on the ground, checking the scene for safety, asking someone to call 911, and asking someone else to get the AED (automated external defibrillator). Then, they check the patient to see if he's unresponsive (he will be). Next, following the guidelines, students must perform chest compressions and breaths to keep the person alive until the AED arrives. At that point, they'll use the AED at intervals as well.

There are two sets of two game modes to choose from: Guided and Independent, and Layperson and Professional. The Guided mode includes more guidance than the Independent mode, including indicating object placement and playing music during chest compressions to help students perform them at the correct intervals. The Professional mode is supposed to include more requirements than the Layperson mode, though it seems to just add checking the patient's pulse.

The emergency situation lasts about three to five minutes. Sometimes the patient wakes up and sometimes not, but the EMTs always take over when the ambulance arrives. Students receive results at the end of the experience that include which steps students managed to complete, their average compression rate, and their Time on Chest (including the percentage of the total time).

AppClinic - Saving Lives! might be a good option for part of a larger lesson on CPR and emergency procedures. It covers the timing of correct chest compressions but doesn't go over body or hand position. It covers the order and checklist of what to do in an emergency situation, and students learn what it looks like to use an AED, but overall the app doesn't have a realistic feel since students are using it on a tablet.

The app does allow students to walk through the steps of how CPR is performed, but it lacks enough feedback for students to feel confident that they know what they're supposed to do. For example, it's not clear how often you should check the patient's pulse or what percentage of the time you should aim for with Time on Chest. It's clear what rate you should have for chest compressions, but you don't get feedback about the breaths or a helpful overall assessment or score. And the Professional option isn't much more involved than the Layperson's.

The best parts of this app are learning the sequence of what needs to be done when someone needs help and practicing the rhythm and speed of the chest compressions. Also, since students won't know exactly how long they'll be performing CPR (though it's generally a few minutes), that can mirror waiting for an ambulance in real life. The app would greatly benefit from some curricular or teacher materials to help students learn about CPR in more depth and understand how they're supposed to use the included tools (and why), such as why there's a 30:2 ratio of chest compressions to breaths.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

A well-designed interface makes it clear what students must do, even if it's less clear how they're supposed to do it. A music beat helps them keep chest compressions going at the right rhythm.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Learning by doing is usually the most effective way, but this app lacks sufficient guidance for students to know whether they're doing most things correctly.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The included AHA guidelines are helpful, but they aren't integrated into the action, so students don't get the feedback they need to learn how to improve.


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