What do users want to see in kids’ book apps? More offerings for young adult and middle grade readers and better functionality—like being able to control the narration speed or kill the music. These are just a couple of ideas tossed about during Wednesday’s Twitter “party” hosted by Ruckus Media.
The latest installment in a monthly chat series held on Twitter, the hour-long session held October 19 addressed “Librarians and Digital Storytelling.” The open-to-all event drew 162 attendees, who ranged according to their Twitter handles, from librarians and teachers to developers and moms. Editors from SLJ and the Horn Book were also on hand for the fast-paced, high energy discussion, which covered a lot of ground in nearly 1,000 tweets.
A big question was how educators are currently using apps. Cathy Potter (@cppotter), a K-5 school librarian, is using the iPad with classes doing library research. She tweeted that her district has directed tech funding toward purchasing the Apple tablets, rather than laptops or interactive whiteboards. Librarian Bethany Gatto (@YFNLibrarian) uses her personal iPad in the library, loaded with apps that let kids present their own work. Still others are testing out their own devices, but are eager to integrate them into their teaching.
On the attendees’ want list:
- Nonfiction apps
- Apps with primary sources
- Digital stories that let you choose your own ending
- YA and middle grade book apps
- More professional narration (authors aren’t always the best readers)
- A built-in dictionary and other resources for middle grades
- A switch-off button for music
- Age-appropriate interactive elements
- Motivational games/points as you read
Daryl Grabarek, editor of SLJ’s app review blog “Touch and Go,” says her app reviewers are using tablets one on one with students. She’s also seeing that librarians who use apps use print versions of the books as well. Her advice for developers? Link to the curriculum.
More thoughts from the chat: