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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Apps, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 323
1. Sesame Workshop Releases Its First ‘Digital Pop-up Book’

screen520x924If you thought a print book was required for reading pop-ups, think again. Sesame Workshop has teamed up with digital services firm StoryToys to create a digital pop-up book that brings the elements of pop-up to the screen.

The first Sesame Street 3-D pop-up book, Elmo Loves You!, actually looks a lot like a real book in the way that the content jumps out at the reader. The book includes 15 interactive scenes, in which characters move and pop off of the page in the way that they would in a real pop-up book. Readers can help Ernie play the drums, exercise with Cookie Monster and count with the Count.

The eBook is currently available from iTunes for $3.99 and will soon be available on Amazon and Google Play.

You can watch a video demo of the story here.

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2. New App Features Every One of Dr. Seuss’ 55 Books

screen520x924Oceanhouse Media has been putting out digital versions of Dr. Seuss apps for the past few years.

Now the company has built the ultimate app for fans of the children’s book author: the Dr. Seuss Treasurythe entire classic Dr. Seuss book collection in one app.

The app includes 55 digital books. Each book includes the original text along with interactive features that were developed for the story. There is also a tool that allows parents and teachers to track a young reader’s progress.

The app is available through a subscription or you can buy the entire collection for one payment. It costs $14.99 per quarter or $49.99 per year for a membership or $99.99 to buy the whole thing.

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3. NaNoWriMo Tip #10: 3 Ways to Tackle Writer’s Block

Murakami QuoteEven the most seasoned authors tangle with writer’s block. We’ve collected five methods to help with this affliction so that NaNoWriMo participants can continue to progress with the projects.

(1) iPad users can try out the “Unstuck” app to access digital tools and encouragement from an empathetic community.

(2) Grammy Award winner Sting was able to beat his writer’s block by drawing inspiration from other people’s stories. The memory of the the shipyard workers he knew from his youth lead him to write the songs for The Last Ship musical.

(3) American Born Chinese graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang forces himself to write “horrible, amateurish, grammatically incorrect, barely comprehensible sentences.” At some point, “ the decent sentences start coming out.”

This is our tenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

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4. Penguin Random House Audio Team Launches The ‘Volumes’ App

VolumesThe Penguin Random House Audio team has developed a new discovery app called “Volumes.”

With this free app, readers can listen to clips from works by Jodi PicoultSophie Kinsella, and Jim Gaffigan. Sometimes, full-length audiobooks will be made available at no charge. At the moment, users can download a free digital copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which features the voice acting talents of Jim Dale.

Her’s more from the press release: “As part of the app’s launch, and to encourage users to give listening a try, Penguin Random House Audio is working with Literacy Partners to donate one audiobook (up to 25,000 audiobooks) for every person that downloads the app and pledges to listen. Listeners can take the pledge on Random House Audio’s Facebook page.” What are your favorite audiobooks?

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5. ‘Captivated By You’ Joins The iBooks Bestsellers List

Captivated By YouSylvia Day’s new book, Captivated By You, has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. at No. 1.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending November 10, 2014. David Baldacci’s new thriller, The Escape, and Gillian Flynn’s suspense novel, Gone Girl, are occupying the second and third spots on the list this week.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump.
(more…)

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6. NPR’s Books Concierge Returns

cover2_custom-a1e9548a368241f2cbbcc1c5912aedd63246fed7-s600-c85Looking for books to buy for the reader on your holiday shopping list this year? Check out NPR’s Books Concierge. The service, which launched last year but has been updated and expanded for 2014, allows you to search the NPR staff’s favorite books of the year based on what you feel like reading.

The Book Concierge lets you mix and match from 26 different categories of reading including: Funny Stuff; Historical Fiction; It’s All Geek to Me; and Let’s Talk About Sex. All of the books are tagged with various categories, and you can hone in on your search. For instance a search for “It’s All Geek to Me” and “Love Stories” recommends Andrew Smith‘s 100 Sideways Miles. A search for “Funny Stuff” and “Music Lovers” nets Caitlin Moran‘s novel How to Build a Girl. The app features 250 titles. (more…)

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7. App Advisory: Where to Start?

App-advisory can be intimidating, especially for those of us who are not heavily engaged in touch-screen technology in our personal lives.  Although I am excited to be a new member of the Children and Technology Committee, and this is a professional interest of mine, I must confess: I don’t own a smartphone or a tablet.  But I strongly believe that whatever your personal habits or philosophies, as professionals, we need to be willing and able (and enthusiastic!) to be media mentors, modeling responsible new media use and providing recommendations for parents and families.  With so many apps out there, many of which are labeled “educational,” we need to be able to provide parents with trusted recommendations and advice.  If you can do reader’s advisory, you already have the skills to do app advisory! Here are some suggestions, based on what we did at the Wellesley Free Library.

Get to know your material!  Read app reviews (see list of review sources below) and keep track of the apps about which you read. We use a Google spreadsheet, so that all Children’s Department staff can contribute.  This includes, when available, recommended age (though this is something significantly lacking in many app reviews), price, platform, categories, and our comments.  Keeping this information centralized and organized makes it easy to come up with specific apps to recommend to a patron, or to pull for a list.

Play around with the apps!  If you have money to spend (consider asking your Friends group for money for apps, especially if you will be using the apps in library programs), download some apps that seem interesting and try them out.  Even if you can’t spend money, you can try out free apps or download free “lite” versions of apps.  Playing with the app allows you to give a more in-depth description and detailed information in your advisory (consider the difference between recommending a book based on a review you read and having read the book itself).

Choose your method of advisory. App advisory can take many forms. There is the individual recommendation at the reference desk, there are app-chats (the app version of the book-talk), which have been discussed in an article on the ALSC blog by Liz Fraser, and then there are app-lists.  For the past year, we have created monthly themed app lists, mostly for young children between the ages of 2 and 6.  The themes have included: interactive books, music, math, letters, and more. Be sure to include free apps as well as apps available for non-Apple devices on your lists.

Provide advice, along with recommendations.  On the back of our paper app lists, and on the website where we post links to the app-list Pinterest boards, we offer advice to parents about using interactive technology with young children.

A year later, still without a smartphone or tablet, I feel much more confident about recommending apps to patrons, reviewing and evaluating apps, and building our collection, and you can too!  You already have the tools for evaluating media that meets children’s developmental needs and creating interesting and attractive advisory methods for families.  The next step is simply taking it to a new platform!

Some of our favorite review sources for apps:

Children’s Technology Review
Cybils Award
Digital Storytime
Horn Book App of the Week
Kirkus ipad Book App Reviews
Little elit
Parents’ Choice Awards
School Library Journal App Reviews

Clara Hendricks is a Children’s Librarian at the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, MA. She is a member of ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee.

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8. HarperCollins Releases the ’1D Official Book’ Companion App

One DirectionHarperCollins hired Re:Systems to design and develop a companion application for the One Direction autobiography, Who We Are. The publisher released the app on September 24th; the book came out on October 7th.

This free app, available for both iOS and Android devices, allows fans of this popular boy band to interact with the book. It has been downloaded more than 60,000 times within the last two weeks.

Here’s more from The Drum: “Using the app, built for iOS and Android mobile devices, 1D fans can activate hidden, never-before-seen content by placing their mobile device over motifs and photographs within the book, as illustrated by the band’s welcome in-app video. This includes exclusive access to photos, videos, interviews, intimate clips from the band’s first audiobook and quiz questions, fed into the app throughout the year via the CMS. Points are collected as users answer quiz questions correctly, allowing hidden content, or ‘fan extras,’ to be unlocked.”

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9. Kickstarter alert: Comic Chameleon goes Android

3042d2a6613392420063e64fd4e44079 large Kickstarter alert: Comic Chameleon goes Android

While digital comics have changed the medium for good, individual comics apps haven’t really taken off as much as you might think. But there are some good ones out there: Comic Chameleon is a webcomic aggregator that actually picks up popular webcomics like  Questionable COntent, Girls with Slingshots and the like. And with permission. They’ve been around on iOS for a while, but now they’ve got a Kickstrter fo develop an Android version. It’s about halfway to a $13,000 goal, so it looks pretty solid to go all the way. But in a twist, some of the Kickstarter money will go to creators:

10% of the campaign will go to the artists of your choice

If you care about supporting independent webcomic artists as much as we do, you’ll be happy to know that when you contribute to our campaign, 10% of your pledge will go to up to 3 artists of your choice who publish with our app. We’ve always been as much about supporting artists as we’ve been about entertaining you, and our Kickstarter is no different.

We’ve talked to head guy Bersie Sou a few times and he seems like an on the level guy. This is another strong move.

How about it, Beaterati? Do you read comics on your phone via apps like Comic Chameleon? Why or why not?

 

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10. Oyster Launches a New Book Lists Feature

OysterOyster has added Book Lists to its eBook streaming service. This new feature will allow for greater discoverability.

Readers can build and share lists of their favorite titles. As a subscriber scans a list from the app on their mobile device, they can click on a title that interests them and instantly start reading.

According to the Oyster blog, the company has reached out to different groups and authors to kick off the launch. Organizations such as Warby Parker, Blue Bottle, and the Rhode Island School of Design have curated their own special lists. The group of writers who joined in include The Glass Castle memoirist Jeanette Walls, The Devil Wears Prada novelist Lauren Weisenberger, and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon.

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11. Tom Hanks Types a Book of Short Stories

TomHanksHeadshotGiven his affinity for typewriters and his collection of favorite models, including a Hermes 2000, a 1930s Remington, and a midcentury Royal, we imagine Tom Hanks tapped out first drafts for the book he just sold to Alfred A. Knopf. Images of his typewriters inspired a series of short stories.

According to the New York Times: “’The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather the stories are something that might have been written on one of them,’ Mr. Hanks said in a statement released by Knopf on Monday.”

In September, Hanks shared the origin story for his typewriter love with NPR’s Audie Cornish, “I ended up just having them around because they’re beautiful works of art, and I ended up collecting them from every ridiculous source possible. It really kicked off probably when I had a little excess cash. But better to spend it on $50 typewriters than some of the other things you can blow show-business money on.”

He also discussed with Cornish how using a typewriter changes the writing process:

“It makes me work a little slower, and when you work a little slower, you work a little bit more accurately. … I like operating a little bit slower. Typing on an actual typewriter on paper is only a softer version of chiseling words into stone.”

Hanks’ book of short stories follows the release in August of his writing app, Hanx Writer, which simulates a typewriter keyboard and action, and his 2013 New York Times op-ed, “I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE. Hear That?”

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12. App of the Week: Brushstroke

Name: Brushstroke
Cost: 2.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

code organa logoBrushstroke is a seemingly simple app that turns a photo into a painting. You might think to yourself, so what? But really, it’s a pretty powerful tool that gives teens, teachers, and librarians the chance to use a variety of effects on their photos and is a great way to start discussions on painting techniques, styles, how visual messages change as a result of visual choices, and even artists and art movements.

The way it works is that a user selects a photo from an iPad or iPhone camera roll or takes a photo from within the app. The next step is to crop the image if need be. After that, and I admit it took me a minute to figure out how to get from the crop screen to the painting screen – it’s the > on the top right (as you can see in the images below) – the image is rendered as a painting. In the photos below you’ll see the original version of the photo I painted on the left and the painted version on the right.

original photo of harry and lulu relaxing brushstroke painted photo of harry and lulu relaxing

Once a photo is turned by Brushstroke into a painting, a wide-array of painting styles are available to render the image in. Choices range from oil and watercolor styles to experimental and abstract styles. You can also add color filters; a canvas type such as primed, rough, canvas, stone, and so on; change exposure, brightness, and add a highlights; and add a signature to a painting. Brushstroke signature screenWhen adding a signature there are a few color choices available and as the signature is created it’s visible on the painting so it’s easy to tell which color will display the best.

After completing a painting it can be saved, shared via traditional social media channels, or even produced and shipped framed and ready to hang in a school, library, or teenager’s bedroom.

Teens who are interested in different styles of art can compare their favorite artist’s paintings to the styles they create with Brushstrokes. Teachers who are working with teens in art classes, history classes, and so on can use Brushstroke as a jumping off point in conversations about the ways in which different painting techniques can be used in order to send a particular message or create a particular emotion.

Turning a photo into a painting might seem like a simple idea. But in reality, to transform the photo into the style most appropriate for the image portrayed takes a lot of thought and trial and error. Critical thinking and problem-solving are a key part of the process.

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13. Scribd Subscribers to Have Access to 30,000 Audiobooks

Scribd 200Scribd will add 30,000 audiobooks to its library.

Subscribers to the digital book streaming service will have access to both new releases and popular backlist titles. Some of the audiobooks that have been made available include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives, and Brené Brown’s nonfiction book Daring Greatly.

Here’s more from the press release: “The addition of this extensive audiobooks selection, which includes titles from Blackstone, HarperCollins, Scholastic and Naxos, to Scribd’s existing library of more than half a million eBooks represents the largest unlimited-access offering of eBooks and audiobooks available today…Listeners can browse special audio-only collections curated by Scribd’s editorial staff, including collections arranged by length, narrator, and subject, from ‘Shakespearean Actors Reading Shakespeare’ to ‘Roadtrip Listening: SF to LA,” to “What to Listen to on the Way to a Job Interview.’”

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14. NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Always Carry a Notepad

evernoteIdeas can come at any time. All writers, that certainly includes NaNoWriMo participants, should get in the habit of carrying around a notepad to jot down their thoughts at a moment’s notice.

These days, there are other ways to doodle and scribble besides using pen and paper. The Evernote team recently released the Penultimate app for iOS mobile device users; the developers made it a mission to give users the “most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad.”

This is our seventh NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in a single month, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

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15. Illustration and design concept for a chess app for iPad

For some reason, I've been really interested in user interface design (probably because I'm a graphic designer and I'm practically inseparable from my iPad). And when I run across an especially bad design in a app, I really get an itch to "fix" it. Problem is, the vast majority of them are poorly designed.

Chess games being no exception. Additionally, though, I thought the subject matter would lend itself to some pretty fun visuals and illustrations.







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16. Evernote Now Lets Users Create eBooks

The popular note taking app Evernote has a new feature that lets users produce an eBook or PDF directly from the app.

The new tool comes as part of an integration with self-publishing platform FastPencil. Users can publish a group of notes from Evernote or their entire notebook by importing the pages into FastPencil’s self-publishing platform from within the Evernote app. There is an option to edit, collate, format and create a table of contents. Once the files are ready, a writer can publish them on the web or in print through FastPencil’s partnership with Gung-Ho.

Users can also use FastPencil’s distribution network which includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, iPad, Sony eReaders and Ingram to self-publish their titles.

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17. Digital Drawing on Photographs

Allium artwork

I have a little more to share about our trip to France, but for now, here’s a little artwork.

On a recent flight from Boston to Charlotte, I took a break from reading and started fiddling around with an app (Adobe Ideas), drawing on some of my photographs. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these before, both pre and post-drawing.

Floral Arrangement

Fun, eh? Have a favorite?

Floral Artwork

Just finished watching the BBC adaptation of Dickens’ Bleak House. Really enjoyed it. Currently reading Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (it’s the memoir upon which the show is based). Now watching Bletchley Circle. I seem to be in a BBC/ British kind of mood.

For more posts about  my artwork and others’, click here.


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18. Young Children, New Media and Libraries Survey

In order to examine how libraries incorporate different kinds of new media devices into their branches and programming; we ask for your participation in the Young Children, New Media and Libraries Survey prior to Monday, August 18, 2014.

Participation in this survey will help us better understand the scope, challenges, and next steps for libraries regarding new media use. We would like one librarian from your branch who is able to answer questions regarding your library’s use of new media to complete this survey.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NTN6PWT.

The survey includes 9 questions and we anticipate it will take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. Additional information regarding this survey can be found online: http://www.ala.org/alsc/young-children-new-media-and-libraries-survey.

This survey was created in partnership with LittleeLit.com, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, and the University of Washington. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact us at the below emails.

Cen Campbell (cenlibrarian@gmail.com)
J. Elizabeth Mills (jemills1@uw.edu)
Joanna Ison (jison@ala.org)

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19. App of the Week: ScratchJr

Name: ScratchJr
Platform: iOS 7 or later/compatible with iPad
Cost: Free

scratchjr logoOK, I know some of you are saying, “Wait, I thought this was the YALSAblog for those working with teens. What’s up with a review of an app that’s for really young kids?” It seems crazy that the YALSAblog App of the week would review something like ScratchJr, but I have to say, there’s a lot to make it worth recommending to staff working with teens and to teens themselves.

  • ScratchJr is a perfect way for any adult – library staff member, parent, teacher, etc. – to start learning about why all of this talk about teaching young people how to code is important, to begin to understand what block-based coding is all about, and to be able to gain some skills so to be better prepared for STEM-based programs that might be rolled out that integrate critical thinking, problem-solving, etc. within a coding environment.
  • Any library that is giving teens the chance to work with younger children on coding projects will want to know about ScratchJr. It’s a perfect app for teens to use with kids to get the younger kids started on learning how coding works and on STEM-based activities that integrate critical thinking and problem-solving. If the teens you work with are working on this kind of project, it’s also a perfect opportunity for teens to have a chance to talk and think about how to present the information to children, how to plan and implement a program of this kind, and so on. It will take a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving on a teen’s part to put together a ScratchJr program for younger children, and that’s great.


When you get started with ScratchJr you’ll need to start a new project. As with all Scratch software and apps, the new project starts with a cat as the main character of the story, or game, or activity you are going to program. And, as with all Scratch programs you can change that character and/or add more characters to the project you work on.
screen showing start of a scratchjr project

What ScratchJr and other programs of the same type is all about is learning how to program by creating a process that tells the cat – or other character that you use – to move in a certain way, say something, stop and pause for a period of time, and so on. The focus is on learning how the commands you put together have an impact on what’s going on on the screen.

ScratchJr doesn’t have as many commands to work with as it’s parent product Scratch, but it has plenty to get started with for those who are learning how to program in this way. Users can move characters in all directions, have the character speak, record narration, hide and show characters and more. Users can also add backgrounds and change the look of a character using some simple character editing tools.
sample of a scratch project in the works with blocks and characters on the screen

Any adult that is wondering what this coding thing that people are talking about as a part of learning for children and teens is all about, should try out ScratchJr as a first step in their own learning. Teens working to help younger kids will do well learning ScratchJr as well. It’s worth the time to take a look and think about how ScratchJr does have an impact on the teens and the families that you work with.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s App of the Week Archive.

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20. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 8

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include book lists, growing bookworms, ebooks, apps, KidLitCon, Cybils, reading, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Books and Authors

I can't believe that people are protesting The Scarecrows' Wedding b/c the bad guy smokes http://ow.ly/zYVlU via @bkshelvesofdoom

Children’s Lit Questions From Beyond the Grave: A Wild Things! Interview of @SevenImp + @FuseEight by @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zZ2fS

Book Lists

es! RT @BookChook: @JensBookPage Think u wd like: @BooksBabiesBows Ten Reasons to Read Aloud During Times of Tragedy http://www.booksbabiesandbows.com/2014/06/ten-reasons-to-read-aloud-during-times.html?spref=tw …

New Stacked #BookList and general thoughts from Kimberly on Matriarchal Societies http://ow.ly/zZ2a2 #yalit

Stacked: Get Genrefied: Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi) http://ow.ly/zVYbo #yalit @catagator #BookList

Top Ten Novels in Verse by @katiestrawser @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zTWpJ #kidlit

THIS is a great resource | Easy Reader Books That Are Actually Easy, selected by @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/zVXDe

Nice list of Back to School Books for different ages from @bankstreetedu http://ow.ly/zTSEw via @ChoiceLiteracy

Children's and YA books featuring unlikely friendships from the SSHEL #Library http://ow.ly/zRc5C #BookList

5 Superhero Comics with Girl Power | Friday’s Five @5M4B http://ow.ly/zRbP1

25 Contemporary Picture Books To Help Parents, Teachers, And Kids Talk About #Diversity @buzzfeed http://ow.ly/A1RrK via @FuseEight

eBooks and Apps

Eight Apps to Support Early Reading and Writing | Cool Tools @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/zZv6r

Important thoughts from @MaryAnnScheuer | Reading Online: How will it affect developing readers? http://ow.ly/zZ0ED

Smartphones: The Silent Killer Of The Web As You Know It @ow at The Next Web via @cmirabile http://ow.ly/zRkWL

Growing Bookworms

Great advice from @TrevorHCairney | Helping toddlers to develop reading comprehension http://ow.ly/zVXip #literacy

#RT @ReadAloud_org Babies are born learning and parents are a child's first and most important teacher. Download our 15 Books & Tips http://www2.readaloud.org/15ReadAloudTips

Raising Readers: The Power of Rereading from @SunlitPages http://ow.ly/zZ37Y #literacy

10 easy tips for keeping the love of books alive in an early childhood classroom | @NorahColvin http://ow.ly/zYW43

Kidlitosphere

On Poetry Friday, @JoneMac53 has A Couple of Announcements about #KidLitCon + the call for #Cybils judges http://ow.ly/zRdZ3

Various interesting #kidlit tidbits in: Morning Notes: See You in 2114 Edition — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/A56VN

Kidlit PictureRT @KidLitCon: Check out some of the people who will be at this year's #KidLitCon. Will you be there, too? http://t.co/pk1Xzlpcpw

A #Kidlitcon program teaser @charlotteslib (+a note that the deadline for panel ideas has been extended a week) http://ow.ly/zTWrA

Congratulations to @FuseEight + @SevenImp on the publication of Wild Things! Lots of fun stuff planned http://ow.ly/zYXuu

At A Year of Reading, @MaryLeeHahn + @frankisibberson are Celebrating the fabulous @KateMessner http://ow.ly/zRcCR

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

"Being readers makes us friends" | Happy Esther Day, Nerdy Friends! | @CBethM @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zTVLN

Gorgeous post on The State of Photography Illustration in 2014 @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zRewm #kidlit

Interesting: Wikipedia, Amelia Bedelia, and Our Responsibility Regarding Online Sources — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/zRd6s

Programs and Research

New @RalphLauren program has designs to promote kids' #Literacy, 25% of price goes to @ReachOutAndRead http://ow.ly/zYSvJ @Scholastic

Very nice, from SFC Blog: The Y Helps Kids Combat ‘Summer Slide’ http://ow.ly/A1QVQ via @FuseEight #literacy

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain, more important than class time | @NPR http://ow.ly/A5lT5  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Schools and Libraries

Love it! A Librarian's Guide to getting to 10,000 Steps in a day from @abbylibrarian http://ow.ly/zTWjU

TEN TIPS FOR A PERFECT AUTHOR VISIT at school by Michael Shoulders | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zYWTv #kidlit

Nice idea to encourage reading outside of class | The Phenomenon of the 100 Page Club @stephaseverson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zVXYK

Summer Reading

Rocking #SummerReading and STEAM @RIFWEB http://ow.ly/A56jG

#SummerReading Tip36 @aliposner | As we head into August, take a moment to reflect on your kids’ reading lives | http://ow.ly/zTW4c

#SummerReading Tip37 @aliposner | When in transit to your destination this summer, establish some no technology time http://ow.ly/zTWgh

#SummerReading Tip38 @aliposner | Parents of boys, pay special attention to your boys’ reading this summer http://ow.ly/zZ2QI

#SummerReading Tip39 @aliposner | Consider motivating summer reading with some great graphic novels! http://ow.ly/A2GJN

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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21. Cultural Competence in the Digital Realm: #WeNeedDiverseApps!

At the recent ALA Annual in Las Vegas, I was part of a panel named “Whet Your Appetite: Rapid Reviews of Apps for Children from Preschool to Tweens” along with Paige Bentley-Flannery, Cen Campbell, and Claire Moore. Our session provided rapid reviews of an assortment of apps, and my portion was on multicultural apps for young people. Based on the ever-growing number of book apps for young readers available in the iTunes store, I wanted to learn more about multicultural book app offerings. Limiting our search to Apple products for the sake of convenience (since I am an iPad user), my graduate assistant Rebecca Price and I combed through the iTunes store, various review sites including Kirkus, School Library Journal, Hornbook, Publishers Weekly, many of the blogger sites that cover apps, such as Carisa Cluver’s Digital Storytime and Cen Campbell’s Little eLit. Frankly, we had a terrible time finding quality apps that reflected diversity. And of those that were available, many were flawed.

One such book app, A Song for Miles, by Tiffany Simpkins Russell, Ph.D., with illustrations by Raheli Scarborough, features beautiful illustrations that look like oil or acrylic on canvas, but there is no explanatory note about the art. The app has very limited interactivity, and is subsequently more of an enhanced book rather than a book app.  The text is about a father educating his young son about the music that inspires him, and he describes songs by artists from Earth, Wind, & Fire to Stevie Wonder, but unfortunately, none of this music is included in the app. In order to hear the music, on the last page, there is a list of the music described, and readers can “Tap on the song titles below to view artist catalog in iTunes.” I imagine that the author and illustrator may not have realized the licensing roadblock their story posed, and they may have had other intentions at the outset, but unfortunately, in the end, this book ends up being little more than a commercial of songs available for purchase.

The Story of Kalkalilh, by Bramble Berry Tales, developed by Loud Crow Interactive, is a book app based on an oral story told by the Squamish people of southwestern British Columbia. According to the developer’s site: “With Bramble Berry Tales we saw a need to bring three oral histories incredibly dear to the Squamish, Sto:lo, and Cree Nations to life”. In addition to English, French, and Spanish, the app can be played in Squamish. The app received a starred review from Kirkus and was included on the 2013 Kirkus list of Best Book Apps. Unfortunately, while this app featured easy navigation throughout and a nice feature of being able to click on icons to hear Squamish words pronounced and get background information on terms such as Potlach (Tl’enk) and Longhouse (Lam’), which are specifically relevant to the setting of the story, I am not able to judge the cultural authenticity of this app, nor could I find reviews that spoke to the app’s cultural accuracy.

The New York Times recently published articles by the late Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher about the lack of diverse books in the US. Christopher Myers cited a study by the Cooperative Children’s book center at the University of Wisconsin which found that Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, only 92 featured an African American character. As a result of these articles, writer Ellen Oh created the Twitter hastag #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

As our roles shift and we increasingly are tasked with providing digital resources for our patrons, it is important that we seek out, collect, and provide access to balanced digital collections, just as we do with print resources. We need diverse book apps indeed. But we must maintain a critical perspective as we evaluate those, and separate blatantly commercial products from quality ones worth sharing with our communities.

Title: The Story of Kalkalilh

Title: A Song for Miles

Marianne Martens is Assistant Professor at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science and a member of ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee. You can read more about her work at mariannemartens.org, and she can be reached at mmarten3@kent.edu.

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22. Big Picture Classes “Phone Photography Project 2″ Class

balboa walkwayOne of the many long galleries at Balboa Park. Assignment: In a Row.

At Comic-Con two years ago (or was it three? they begin to blur), I dropped my camera in the street, and it has never been the same since. Even before that, I was finding myself more likely to reach for my smartphone than the camera when I wanted to snap a pic. I gather I’m not alone in this. As phone cameras have improved and apps like Instagram make uploading and sharing easier, more and more of us are relying on our phones to capture the memories we want to save.

At times, though, I’ve been frustrated by the frankly mediocre quality of my phone photos compared to the kind of pictures I used to get with my camera. When I saw that Big Picture Classes was offering an online course in phone photography—and furthermore, that my fellow former ClubMom blogger Tracey Clark was one of the instructors—I decided to take the plunge.

Oh you guys, I am SO happy I’m taking this class. The “Before and After” videos, in which various instructors walk you through the editing process on a single photo, using their favorite apps, made an immediate difference in my pictures. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the biweekly lessons with accompanying photo challenges, all based around themes like “In a Row,” “Lines,” or “Fill the Frame.” I’m much happier with the quality of the photos I’m getting out of my iPhone. Almost every image I have posted here in the past two weeks was influenced by the course.

The class runs through August 16 and you can sign up right until the end. You move through the lessons at your own pace. There’s a pretty active message board with lots of input from the instructors, and several bonus videos in which guest photographers spend some time talking about their phone-photography process.

Here’s a selection of my class assignments. There’s a gallery where students may upload photos, but the best place to see others’ work is on Instagram, where we’re tagging our work #bpcphonephotographyproject and adding tags for the individual assignments, such as #ppp2inarow or #ppp2shapes.

seaport village houseTaken at Seaport Village in San Diego. Assignment: Rule of Thirds.

orchidsI always swoon over the orchids in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building. Assignment: Fill the Frame.

blueguitarsSnapped in a corner of the music studio where my kids take piano. Assignment: Lines.

leaflinesAnother take on the Lines assignment.

succulentI’m always admiring these beautiful succulents in my neighbor’s yard. Assignment: Fill the Frame.

rocktowersThere’s a man who stacks these rock towers at Seaport Village every day. Assignment: Shapes.

guitarsbwAnother take on the guitars…Assignment: Black and White. (I think this may be my favorite of the bunch.)

morninglightRose found this feather and we decided it was meant for my blue jar. Assignment: Light.

geocacheseaportvillageAnother Seaport Village shot, but I’m not saying where exactly. ;) Assignment: Fill the Frame.

coronadobeachgirlandshipI posted this one here last week, but I tried a slightly different edit when I shared it on Instagram. I think I like this faded version best. (I prefer the taller crop on the original, though.) Assignments: Vantage Point and Rule of Thirds.

beanieflieskiteI happened to read the Vantage Point lesson right before our trip to Seaport Village, and it’s what nudged me to get down on the ground underneath Beanie as she took a stab at flying this kite. I like how the kite is about to sail right out of the frame.

carshadowsOne of the things I’m appreciating most about this class is the way it makes me notice things in my surroundings that I might otherwise have glanced right past. I passed these cars in a parking lot behind the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con and was struck by the reflection of the slats on their windshields. Submitted it for the Black and White bonus challenge.

seaweedgirlThanks to the class I learned how to straighten the horizon in this formerly very tilted shot! I didn’t tag it for any of the assignments, but the way the wind was whipping that seaweed around, it could almost qualify for the Action challenge.

Tomorrow brings a new lesson—I can’t wait!

ppp2_120x120

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23. My client’s online presence

By Jan Willer


Social media and other technologies have changed how we communicate. Consider how we coordinate events and contact our friends and family members today, versus how we did it 20 or 30 years ago. Today, we often text, email, or communicate through social media more frequently than we phone or get together in person.

Now contrast that with psychotherapy, which is still about two people getting together in a room and talking. Certainly, technology has changed psychotherapy. There are now apps for mental health issues. There are virtual reality treatments. Psychotherapy can now be provided through videoconferencing (a.k.a. telehealth). But still, it’s usually simply two people talking in a room.

Our psychotherapy clients communicate with everyone else they know through multiple technological platforms. Should we let them “friend” us on social media? Should we link to them on professional networking sites? Is it ok to text with them? What about email? When are these ok and not ok?

Social Media Explained (with Donuts). Uploaded by Chris Lott. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

Social Media Explained (with Donuts). Uploaded by Chris Lott. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

Some consensus is emerging about these issues. Experts agree that psychotherapists should not connect with current or former clients on social media. This is to help preserve the clients’ confidentiality. Emailing and texting are fine for communicating brief messages about the parameters of the session, such as confirming the appointment time, or informing the psychotherapist that the client is running late. Research has shown that emotional tone is frequently miscommunicated in texting and email, so emotion-laden topics are best discussed during the session.

How do we learn about new people we’ve met? In the past, we’d talk directly to them, and maybe also talk to people we knew in common. Now everyone seems to search online for everyone else. This happens frequently with first dates, college applicants, and job applicants.

Again, contrast this with psychotherapy. Again, two people are sitting in a room, talking and learning about each other. When is it ok for a psychotherapist to search for information about a client online? What if the psychotherapist discovers important information that the client withheld? How do these discoveries impact the psychotherapy?

No clear consensus has emerged on these issues. Some experts assert that psychotherapists should almost never search online for clients. Other experts respond that it is unreasonable to expect that psychotherapists should not access publicly available information. Others suggest examining each situation on a case-by-case basis. One thing is clear: psychotherapists should communicate with their clients about their policies on internet searches. This should be done in the beginning of psychotherapy, as part of the informed consent process.

When we’ve voluntarily posted information online–and when information about us is readily available in news stories, court documents, or other public sources–we don’t expect this information to be private. For this reason, I find the assertion that psychotherapists can access publically available information to be more compelling. On my intake forms, I invite clients to send me a link to their LinkedIn profile instead of describing their work history, if they prefer. If a client mentions posting her artwork online, I’ll suggest that she send me a link to it or ask her how to find it. I find that clients are pleased that I take an interest.

What about the psychotherapist’s privacy? What if the client follows the psychotherapist’s Twitter account or blog? What if the client searches online for the psychotherapist? What if the client discovers personal information about the psychotherapist by searching? Here’s the short answer: psychotherapists need to avoid posting anything online that we don’t want everyone, including our clients, to see.

Ways to communicate online continue to proliferate. For example, an app that sends only the word “Yo” was recently capitalized to the tune of $2.5 million and was downloaded over 2 million times. Our professional ethics codes are revised infrequently (think years), while new apps and social media are emerging monthly, even daily. Expert consensus on how to manage these new communications technologies emerges slowly (again, think years). But psychotherapists have to respond to new communications technologies in the moment, every day. All we can do is keep the client’s well-being and confidentiality as our highest aspiration.

Jan Willer is a clinical psychologist in private practice. For many years, she trained psychology interns at the VA. She is the author of The Beginning Psychotherapist’s Companion, which offers practical suggestions and multicultural clinical examples to illustrate the foundations of ethical psychotherapy practice. She is interested in continuing to bridge the notorious research-practice gap in clinical psychology. Her seminars have been featured at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and DePaul University. 

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24. App of the Week: Party Party

Title:  Party Party
Platforms:  iOS
Cost:  $.99

 

Party Party Icon

If youre anything like me, you probably have so many photography apps that you sometimes call your phone a camera by mistake.  The trouble with such a bounty is that each app usually offers a singular use or function, forcing you to thumb through all the options for each photo op.

The Party Party app cuts through some of that cumbersome decision-making by offering an easy way to take and edit single photos, or take sequential photos that can be formatted as a photo booth collage or stitched together to create stop-motion animations.  In essence, you get three apps in one.

The interface is bright, playful, and intuitive, opening to a photo capture screen with minimal and clearly defined icons:  toggle the lightning bolt for flash, change the orientation of the camera, select the number of photos you want in your sequence (1, 4, 9, or 16), select the gear icon for further options, or hit the shutter button to begin.

partypartyhomescreen

The camera then takes the selected number of photos with a couple of seconds lag time between each — long enough to change facial expressions or move the star of your stop-motion project.  If the product isn’t to your liking, selecting the gear icon allows you to change the amount of delay between pictures in the sequence or choose Manual mode to set up shots without being rushed.

Once satisfied with your photos, you can move to the Layouts page to choose how fast you’d like your animation to run (from turtle to rabbit) or choose the style of your photo booth collage.  Next, a basic photo editor allows you to apply filters and adjust brightness and contrast before exporting your creation as a photo, video, or GIF to social media sites or your camera roll.

partypartylayoutscreen

The ability to import photos and opt out of the automatic looping that occurs with the animations might make this party a bit more fun.  Still, Party Party will appeal to teens looking to enhance their Instagram experience and offer those of us who program for them lots of options with one icon on our homescreen.

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25. AniRef App Lets Animators Create and Analyze Reference Footage

AniRef is an app created especially for animators who need to record, analyze, and track arcs in reference footage. It was created by recent Ringling grad Paolo Cogliati who currently works at The Mill in New York. “Ive been taking it around with me outside of the studio and recording spontaneous things I find and see while roaming the city,” he says of the demo below. “This child walked into frame without me knowing while I was recording people’s feet to scrub through, and made my day! I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so close to a Pinocchio walk in real life!” The app includes the following features: Record actions and add to your library for future reference Analyze footage frame by frame, at multiple frame rates Track arcs, spacing and timing by positioning trackers View your tracking in 4 different display modes Export and Email your tracked footage as .mov and import into your 2D/3D software for ease of workflow Playback in slow motion or at 24 FPS> Bookmark your key poses with the StarPose tool and toggle from key to key Know exactly what frame you are on with the embedded frame count Save your reference to the AniRef library, separate from your regular videos for easy finding and privacy AniRef on the iOS is available for $4.99 on the App Store. For more info, visit AniRef.com. Don’t miss any updates from Cartoon Brew. Join Cartoon Brew on Facebook!

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