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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: apps, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 278
1. App of the Week: Local Birds

local birdsTitle: Local Birds
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

 

 

 

 

Springtime. Flowers are blooming. The sun is shining. Birds are singing… and flying by and hanging out on the lawn. Hey, what kind of bird is that anyway? If you’ve wondered about this, Local Birds can help.

photo 1

Local Birds pulls together a database of birds based on your location. If you use the browse function, birds are sorted by types, raptors, songbirds, etc and listed in order from most common to least common in your area. You can also search for birds that don’t live in your part of the world and get information about them as well. For each bird, the app gives a short description and pulls in data from around the web to provide detail. The Details tab links to the bird’s Wikipedia page, the Images tab links to Google Image search, and the Videos tab links to YouTube videos of the bird.

photo 2 (1) photo 3 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birdwatching is like a scavenger hunt for getting close to nature. In most places, if you pay attention, you’ll see birds. On this New England spring morning, I woke to bird calls, Chickadees and Crows, and something else that I’m not quite sure about. (One thing I wish this app had was a more consistent means of hearing bird calls. YouTube has great videos for some birds, Crows and Ravens for example, but nothing of the American Robin or Song Sparrow). If you pay more attention, you’ll notice things about the birds you see and hear. That’s all well and good if you enjoy nature and  are interested in paying attention to birds, but birdwatching is very specific. It’s not for everyone.

Something I noticed about this app that might be interesting to a wider audience is the way the app is structured. It pulls together information from different places to make a quick and useful resource focused on its topic. This is the kind of thinking teen researchers should be using when working on a large scale project: focusing on a topic, pulling data from multiple sources, and organizing it for ease of use. In that way, Local Birds, is like a research project presented as an app. I wonder if this is a type of project we might see more of in high schools and colleges as a companion to the traditional research paper. It’s something to consider, perhaps, when you’re not checking out that Red-tailed Hawk or trying to spot a Bald Eagle.

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2. It's 'Appy Hour! Over 40 Educational Apps in Four Different Categories

This is the presentation I did for Texas Library Association's Tech Camp, 2014. The list of apps is found below. I originally presented this without the names as part of audience participation :) 1. Skitch 2. Join Me 3. Aurasma 4. Mindmeister 5. Touch Cast 6. Loopster 7. Video Star 8. Paper 53 9. Mindmapper 10. Videolicious 11. Dropvis (this costs .99 cents, but as I told the audience, that’s a Sonic drink during Happy Hour but lasts a whole lot longer  ) 12. Davinci Note 13. QR Reader 14. PicCollage 15. Muzy 16. I-Books 17. Kindle 18. Titlewave 19. Destiny Question 20. Gale Cengage for Schools 21. Symbaloo 22. Haikudeck 23. Voicethread 24. Mindomo 25. Popplet 26. Prezi 27. Animoto 28. Google Drive 29. Livebinders 30. Pinterest 31. Linkedin 32. Google Hangouts 33. Twitter 34. Scoop It 35. Google + 36. Yelp 37. Facebook 38. Tumblr 39. All Recipes 40. Fast Food 41. Weather Channel 42. Runkeeper 43. Uber 44. Airbnb 45. Flixster 46. Calorie King

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3. Get Book Recommendations Using Yasiv’s Amazon Products Visualization Tool

yasivtoolYasiv, a visual recommendation service, has created a tool that lets you find recommendations for books, movies and video games, based on what you already like. Users can enter a book they like, say The Hunger Games, and the tool will reveal every version of the book or movie that is available on Amazon, as well as other related items such as The Hobbit, Divergent and Fundamentals of English Grammar.
The tool bases its connections on past purchases on Amazon. Check it out: “We often decide what to buy based on what others are buying, and that’s no bad thing, after all. If something is bought by many of our friends there has to be a reason. Maybe it’s a good product and worth the money? This is where Yasiv steps in; it shows you what people are buying along with other products. A link between the two products means that they are often bought together. By simply observing the network of products one can guess at what is popular and what isn’t.”
Follow this link to explore the tool.

 

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4. Jot Down Writing Ideas With Six Word’s New iPhone App

allsixwordsYou are walking down the street and have a great idea, but as soon as you get back to your computer it’s gone. All writers have experienced it.

Lawrence Smith, the founder of the storytelling community SMITH Magazine, has created an iPhone app to help solve this challenge. Six Words is designed to help you quickly write down ideas in six words. Users can write six words on any topic and include a photo to help keep track of their ideas on-the-go.

There is a social component as well, for users that want to engage their ideas with the community. Writers can share their six words to get comments from the group and comment on others’ ideas. There is even “The Daily Six” and “Editor’s Note,” both of which highlight popular ideas.

 

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5. Interactive Game of Thrones Map

gameofthronesGame of Thrones fans, listen up! There is an interactive Game of Thrones map available that lets readers track the paths of each character from Song of Ice and Fire.

The tool lets readers explore the map based on how far they into the book they are so far. Readers can set their chapter level so as to avoid spoilers. Readers can explore the paths of multiple characters at a time, to show how those characters have crossed paths.

Follow this link to explore the tool further.

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6. UTA to Represent Film & TV Rights to Wattpad Sensation ‘After’

wattpadmobile304Digital writing community Wattpad has partners with UTA to represent the film and TV rights to After, a story by by Wattpad writer Anna Todd.

The three-part story has garnered more than 500 million reads and regularly trends on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Here is more about the project from the press release: “Written serially with daily updates to meet reader demand, After became Wattpad’s most shared story of 2013.  Readers have also created thousands of pieces of fan art including images, videos, and music to extend their After experience, helping fuel the viral success of After around the world.”

“After has millions of fans around the world who want to see the story on the big screen,” stated Candice Faktor, General Manager of Wattpad. “Reader demand for After creates a massive built-in audience as the story migrates to film, television and elsewhere.  We’re excited to work with UTA to bring After to life on the big screen.”

 

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7. Miximal Is A Children’s App That Animation Fans Can Enjoy, Too

Animator Lucas Zanotto has released a follow-up to his Drawnimal appcalled Miximal. It's a mix-and-match style children's game in which different combinations of animals can be created. Little bits of animation accompany each section of the animal, and when all three pieces align into a complete animal, the creature peforms a short act.

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8. BitTorrent Sync Now Available on the Kindle Fire

Screen-Shot-2013-09-05-at-10.00.46-PMFile sharing platform BitTorrent’s newKindle Fire app has gone live. The BitTorrent Sync app lets users synchronize encrypted folders and files across multiple devices.

The company has been experiencing momentum in recent weeks. Last week the company released BitTorrent Sync 1.3 for their Android and iOS, as well as a new mobile platform for Windows Phone.

The app is designed as an alternative to the cloud for big files. Users don’t have to worry about compressing files before uploading them. The transfers are encrypted and data and personal information are protected by private keys which are not stored on a server in the cloud. The app is free and is available in 10 languages including: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.

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9. App of the Week: Path on

Path on LogoTitle: Path on
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS

If you like to take pictures with your iOS device or know teens who do, you will definitely want to check out Path on. At first glance it may just seem like another photo captioning tool, but what sets Path on apart from other apps that allow you to add text to your images is that it gives you complete control over where you place your text. From a simple caption at the bottom of a page to a curved caption that follows the mountain at the back of your picture to a complicated pattern of words that fit into the spaces around your subject, this app makes it easy to achieve impressive text effects.

When you first open the Path on app, you have the option to tour their gallery on Instagram, or start creating your own images using those already saved on your device or by taking a new picture. Selected images can then be cropped and, as a nice added feature, the app even includes automatic tools to crop an image to fit the standard size on Instagram or for Facebook cover images or profile images as well as most of the standard image sizes you would find in photography. After the image is cropped, you can select how you would like the text to appear on the image. The app includes automatic options to write text in a square, circle, spiral or standard paragraph format and you can also unlock an automatic heart shape by liking the app on Facebook. But, what really sets this app apart is the option to instead draw your own path onto your image. To do this, you simply select the draw option and then trace the desired path or paths on your image. You can have non-continuous paths and the app will ensure that the text follows the exact order in which you drew each line, giving you an impressive amount of control over the entire process. For more detailed paths, you can also zoom in and out on the image. There are also options to undo your most recent drawing or to clear the entire image. All of these tools make it fairly simple to create a complicated path for your text very quickly.

Once you have selected a path or drawn the desired path for your text on the image, you can type your text and then edit it to make sure it exactly matches your vision. Text can be typed in any of hundreds of fonts or, if you would prefer, you can even opt to mix up to five different fonts on a single image. You also have control over the color of the text, the size, the letter spacing, the shadows and can easily change the layout of the text with the tap of a button. You can also edit the image itself with the built in cropping tool, images filters and other effects. Once you are happy with your creation, you can save it to your device, email it to anyone or share it on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or Twitter all from within the app. Path on is a very fun option for image captioning and is well worth checking out if you frequently create and share images on your iPhone.

For more app recommendations visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review, let us know!

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10. A Literary Map of San Francisco

literarycityThe San Francisco Chronicle has created a literary map of San Francisco online called The Literary City.

The interactive map plots literary facts from around the Bay Area onto a Google Map. Readers can find locations from novels, see where authors lived and wrote, as well as read passages from books set in the city. The map also includes a list of bookstores and Literary Journals that are currently active in the city.

Check it out:

This interactive literary map of San Francisco celebrates the region’s storied past and tracks its ever-evolving present with descriptions and locations of independent booksellers, a compilation of roughly 300 Bay Area authors, dozens of landmarks, and writers’ passages about places that fired their imagination.

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11. Wattpad Raises $46 Million in Series C Funding

wattpadmobile304Digital writing community Wattpad has raised $46 million in Series C funding. The money will help fund an expansion in the company’s team in Toronto. Wattpad is planning to move to a new downtown office space at the end of the month to accommodate the growing team. The money will also go towards supporting product development and community growth.

“We’ve grown 200% since this time last year and tens of thousands of people join the Wattpad community each day,” stated Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “We’re on-track to become one of the most successful consumer Internet companies in the world. With this latest investment we’ll continue to build a Toronto company that has global impact.”

According to Wattpad’s latest revelations, the company now has 25 million members worldwide, who collectively spend 6 billion minutes a month engaging with Wattpad content a month. Interestingly, Wattpad is the leading app in the Philippines. In addition, 10 percent of overall Wattpad traffic comes from Spanish-speaking countries.

 

 

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12. App of the Week: Storehouse

storehouse logoTitle: Storehouse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS

Storify is one of my favorite tools on the web – the app is a little glitchy – for taking content (images, videos, Tweets, etc.) and putting them together into a story. Storehouse takes a similar approach and gives users the chance to combine text with images and video in order to create a tale about a topic of interest.

For teens the Storehouse apps is a great way for them to take those images and videos that they take on a device that’s in their pocket or under their arm, and turn them into something that helps to tell about their lives, places they’ve been, events they’ve participated in, and so on. It’s a great tool for giving teens the chance to go beyond the image to the story behind the image.

The app is pretty simple to use. The first step is to tap on the + icon on the top right. That opens up the screen for adding images and videos that are either stored in your iPad photo library or in Dropbox or on Instagram. (Teens will have to connect your Dropbox and Instagram accounts to Storehouse if they are going to import photos from those services.)

example of Storehouse select images screenWhen the library that’s going to be used is open, the next step is to tap on the images or videos that will be used for the Storehouse story and they are quickly added to the story in progress.

Then, just give the story a title, Storehouse will select a cover image for the story but it’s easy to change that. And, it’s possible to crop images at any time too.

The images are imported into the story in the order in which they were selected, but once agein it’s easy to drag them around to put them into the order you want.

At the top of the screen is a button for adding text and a button for adding new media. If you select the text button teens can add either a header, “normal” text, or a quote. I do have to say this is where I got confused. The text is always entered above the photos that have been imported. Here’s the trick. Once text is added, the photos need to be dragged to where they should appear in the story – above or below a particular piece of text – and that creates the flow of the story. It’s easy to do once it’s clear what is required.

At any time in the process the story can be saved as a draft. Even if the story is published it’s possible to go back and add or change images, videos, or text. Once a story is published it’s can be shared on Facebook, Twitter or via email. Unfortunately, Storehouse stories can’t be embedded into web pages. That’s a feature that teens would probably like to see so that they can add them to Tumblr and other websites easily.

Here’s a video from Storehouse on how the app works.

Teens have lots of stories to tell related to the videos and images that they take on devices. Let them know how they can use Storehouse to do just that.

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13. Zola Books Makes iOS App Social

zolabooksZola Books has updated its iOS reading app. The update comes a couple of months after the company acquired the social recommendation app Bookish.The acquisition brought new technology and social sharing capabilities to Zola. With the new update, Zola is adding the ability for readers to add comments in a book on a line by line basis, as well as to share inside of books. The app is also now preloaded with 17 classic books. In addition, the app update now allows users to sign in using Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Goodreads.
The update comes as the social reading business has been shaken up in recent weeks. Last month, Readmill revealed plans to shutter its social reading platform. On the flip side, Wattpad announced $46 million in funding.

 

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14. App of the Week: FridgePoems by Color Monkey

Title: FridgePoems by Color Monkey
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free (for basic vocabulary set)

It’s National Poetry Month, and there’s no easier way to promote the creation of verse poetry than setting up a public access tablet with this fun app.

photo

When you launch the app, you get a “working” space with a handful of words, but you can zoom out to see more. Dragging the word boxes with your fingertips allows you to reorder things to create your verse.

Writers are not strictly limited to the words on screen. You can draw for new words or invest in themed WordPacks ($1 each for hipster tragic, redneck, hip hop, etc. or $3 for all of them). The provision of verb endings and plurals can add some variety as well.

You can save your poem to your camera roll, which inserts the App’s watermark, or share it using integrated social settings.
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My students have been enjoying that special thrill that comes from creating something meaningful from a limited set of words and word endings. They only thing that could be better? Book- and technology-themed wordpacks!

For more app recommendations visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review, let us know!

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15. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 13

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. As in last week's roundup, there are lots and lots of book lists, as well as several links to holiday gift guides. I will certainly be giving lots of books this year, especially to the kids in my life. Can't think of any of the kids who aren't getting at least one book, actually... Happy reading and gift-procuring!

Apps

Literacy, families and learning: Great Science Apps for Kids Aged 6-12 Years from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/rIFJl

Author Musings

Author Jeff Kinney: I’ve realised childhood is a universal condition | @MetroUK http://ow.ly/rIIeK via @PWKidsBookshelf

Dolls in Literature: An Author Panel http://ow.ly/rIHAK @PublishersWkly #kidlit

Susan Cooper: libraries are the frontline in the war for the imagination | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/rIHUy via @PWKidsBookshelf

Book Lists and Awards

Some different choices from other lists in the Parents Magazine Best Children’s Books of 2013 | @tashrow http://ow.ly/rIEKi #kidlit

Stacked: "Best of 2013" YA List Breakdown, Part 2 http://ow.ly/rGaEk @catagator #yalit

Can't argue with most of these: 10 Young Adult Novels That Adults Should Read from @airshipdaily http://ow.ly/rE9BN #yalit

Latino Children's Literature That Should Top Lists from @NPRBooks http://ow.ly/rE9ka via @PWKidsBookshelf

Responding to last week's @WSJ article, @StaceyLoscalzo shares recommended Children’s Books for Grown-Ups http://ow.ly/rE2RW #kidlit

2013-0829_frca-logo_for-webInto the Wardrobe: The Winners of the 2013 Filipino Readers' Choice Awards http://ow.ly/rE2NJ @TarieS #kidlit

The best children's literature of 2013 according to @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/rE2hF via @bkshelvesofdoom #kidlit

The Cath in the Hat: A Year-End Round-Up of favorite #kidlit. Like me, Cath adores SOPHIE'S SQUASH and PENNY http://ow.ly/rE28B

12 Days of Mysteries: Day 1 at Sleuths, Spies, Aliblis with fine #kidlit mystery picks from @KKittscher http://ow.ly/rBlid

16 Winter-themed Chapter Books for Kids recommended by @momandkiddo (I love BREADCRUMBS) http://ow.ly/rBkEQ #kidlit

Guy Friday- Foul Trouble review plus list of basketball-themed books for middle schoolers from @msyingling http://ow.ly/rx25o #kidlit

It's Here! NYPL's Children's Books for Reading + Sharing 2013 | @NYPL http://ow.ly/rwYX1 via @bkshelvesofdoom @FuseEight #kidlit

Diversity

Quite a solid response from @Jonathanhliu @GeekDads to questions about his male-author dominated picture book list http://ow.ly/rwZZj

Nice! Raising sci fi/fantasy loving kids to be the decent fans of tomorrow, w/ diverse SFF for kids @charlotteslib http://ow.ly/rz6Ma

Gift Ideas and Guides

A message to those without children about buying gifts for kids from the mom at I Gave Up By Noon http://ow.ly/rE3AQ via @fuseeight

Matchmaking with Books | How Becky Levine helps find books as gifts for kids http://ow.ly/rBmtD #kidlit

Making a list? Check these twice! | Suggestion lists for finding holiday gifts for kids from Joanne @ReadingRockets http://ow.ly/rBmRT

Looking for the just-right children's book this holiday season? @Scholastic Give the Gift of Reading Guide can help: http://bit.ly/1966CCJ

Growing Bookworms

I do love the idea of book advent calendar. I'm going to try it next year. Meanwhile, read about one at Sunlit Pages http://ow.ly/rGqlY

Boys Read: Want a Boy to Read? Listen First. Guest article from Jake Ball @Booksforchildrn on helping boys find books http://ow.ly/rBmbv

Matching Books to Readers: @growingbbb reviews + likes @ZoobeanForKids book subscription service http://ow.ly/rBkc0

The 5Rs: Encouraging Early #Literacy Skills while reading with toddlers + preschoolers, from @readingwithbean http://ow.ly/rBhk1

Kidlitosphere

Very nice! @100scopenotes + @mrschureads are giving away The 2013 Notable Children's Books from @NYTimes list http://ow.ly/rBlC7

Infographic | Homes of Classic Literature w/ floor plans. Incl. The Secret Garden http://ow.ly/rx2tC @terrysfabrics via @bkshelvesofdoom

On Reading, Writing, Publishing

Stacked: "Best of 2013" and "Best of 2012" YA Lists Compared & What We Should Talk About http://ow.ly/rIFFa @catagator #yalit

A Writer Can Be... a Super-Sneaky #Cybils Student: A Guest Post By @LauraPSalas http://ow.ly/rG6QS @scbwi via @leewind

Remember when books looked like this? "Who decided that only baby books should have pictures?" asks @LaurelSnyder http://ow.ly/rE2wC

Cynsations: Guest Post: @gregpincus on Writing & Marketing with Serious Lead Time http://ow.ly/rE2mR @CynLeitichSmith

Down-to-earth advice for writers on the publication process from @camphalfblood Rick Riordan http://ow.ly/rz6Qf

Love this! Waterstones spoofs Amazon drones with owls @TelegraphBooks http://ow.ly/rx0mN via @tashrow

RT @tashrow Kent University ‘penitent’ after belittling children’s books | Books http://buff.ly/18Xv8py #kidlit

Well-done piece by Alexandra Alter in @wsj on adults reading + driving up sales for #kidlit http://ow.ly/rwWKV #ChooseKind

Parenting

Words on parenting to live by in this post sharing thoughts from Erma Bombeck @staceyloscalzo 's blog http://ow.ly/rBl4R

Picture Book News

Mr-Tiger-Activity-Kit-cover-231x300Mr. Tiger Goes Wild fans, you can now download a printable activity kit from @itspeterbrown website http://ow.ly/rE5zj via @blueslipper

Via @100scopenotes the next @The_Pigeon Pigeon book will be THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH (4/1/14) http://ow.ly/rGaRF #kidlit

Programs and Research

Good to hear at Guys Lit Wire: Many Thanks for a MOST Successful Holiday Book Fair for Ballou! http://ow.ly/rIFg2 @chasingray

Have You Registered for World Read Aloud Day? How will you celebrate? asks @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/rBkv9 @litworldsays

Schools and Libraries

Depressing! Los Angeles School Libraries Losing Materials as They Lose Librarians | School Library Journal http://ow.ly/rIHer @sljournal

Pew's Internet Study: How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities. http://ow.ly/rG9jo via @bkshelvesofdoom

Top Ten Ways to Encourage Children to Read Over Winter Break by @katsok @nerdybookclub http://ow.ly/rz6WW #literacy

A very nice success story on creating a reading culture in a high school by @djolleywrites @nerdybookclub http://ow.ly/rx1I1

© 2013 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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16. The Cybils Shortlists Are Nigh!

Cybils2013SmallTonight at midnight (Arizona time), the Cybils shortlists will be announced in all 11 categories (plus some sub-categories). Stay tuned at Cybils.com for the finalists. 

I truly believe that the Cybils shortlists are one of the finest resources that the Kidlitosphere has to offer. They are the result of > 50 round 1 bloggers (teachers, librarians, parents, authors, and more), who have read their way through more than 1300 nominated titles across the various categories. These tireless readers have winnowed each category down to a list of five to seven titles that believe are the most kid-friendly and well-written of the bunch. 

The Cybils shortlists are available by age range and genre (poetry, graphic novels, non-fiction, fiction, speculative fiction, book apps). Each list offers a wonderful starting place for anyone who is looking for great new books for a particular child. You can browse past shortlist by going to Cybils.com and following the links in the upper right-hand corner. For this year's lists, as I said, stay tuned. They are coming in just a few short hours. And they are fabulous! 

© 2013 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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17. Slice Bookshelf is Shutting Down

rsz_screen_shot_2013-06-06_at_102731_amBookshelf, a social discovery engine from Slice.com that helps readers find books based on friends’ recommendations, is shutting down.

The discovery tool allowed users to create lists of recommended reads and share these lists with friends. The company explained the reason to GalleyCat via email. “We’re focusing on improving our core product, Slice, developing new features and experiences, and expanding existing ones like Recall Alerts, Price Drop Alerts and package tracking.”

Bookshelf users will be getting an email about the closure along with instructions on how to transfer their account to Goodreads. Users can download their reading data through April 30.

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18. Ownshelf, eBook Sharing App, is on Kickstarter

ownshelfDeveloper Rick Marazzani hopes to raise $7,500 on Kickstarter to fund further development of an app that allows users to share their eBooks.

The app is called Ownshelf. Aiming to be “Goodreads meets Dropbox,” the app lets users search for book recommendations among their friends and then borrow those titles from their friends and vice versa.

Users can upload DRM-free eBooks to their account to create a virtual bookshelf that can be shared with friends. Friends can browse each other’s shelves and vice versa to look for books and then download their friend’s copy. We only recommend using this for public domain books and books in which the authors encourage sharing.

The app has been around in beta since last year, but the company is seeking new funding to help take things to the next level. Here is more from their Kickstarter page: “Our team spent the past year building the infrastructure and Beta website for Ownshelf. Over 20,000 people have signed up so far, helping us test the service, and offering valuable feedback.  Now we are on Kickstarter to build a mobile/tablet app so it is even easier for your friends and family to share eBooks across devices.”

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19. Alina Chau's traditional watercolor on a digital landscape.

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20. Rooster App Imagines eReading in Short Installments

roosterThe creative forces behind Plympton and DailyLit have a new serialized fiction app designed to make reading more convenient to do during short windows of time. 

The idea behind

Rooster is to make it easy for busy people to read books over a series of 15-minute increments. Rather than wasting time playing Candy Crush on the subway, Rooster hopes people will spend this time reading books, which are served up in bite-sized installments. Every month, the app releases two new books — one work of contemporary fiction, another classic. For $4.99 a month, you can access both books through the app.

We caught up with Yael Goldstein Love, Rooster’s co-founder/editorial director, to discuss the project.
continued…

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21. E-Books and Apps in Storytime – #pla2014

Combine Saroj Ghoting, the wonderful early literacy expert and Cen Campbell, the fearless new media user, and you get some terrific ideas about how to use e-books and apps in storytimes. Their focus was not to argue if, when and how much when it comes to app use in storytimes, but to accept the reality–families are using and will continue to use media with kids. If we don’t wade in and position ourselves as the experts, we leave the playing field open for Disney, Nickelodeon, Fisher-Price, etc. Go to littleelit.com for app lists, discussions, training ideas, programming tips, etc. by wise librarians from all over the place.

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22. Narrative Magazine Now Has iOS & Android Apps

narrativeLiterary publication Narrative has a new iOS and Android app, that gives readers access to the magazine’s entire back catalog for free. This expands the digital readership of the publication beyond just Kindle.

The app features stories, poems, essays, interviews, cartoons, and features by authors including Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, E. L. Doctorow, and Jane Smiley, among others. The publication will automatically update the app every week with new content including the featured Story of the Week and Poem of the Week. The app also features the “iStory” and “iPoem,” features which are short reads as selected by authors. The idea is to help readers with busy schedules fit literature into their everyday lives.

“Our goal in the evolution of digital media is to encourage and support literature by connecting readers and writers as directly as possible,” stated Tom Jenks, cofounder and editor of Narrative.

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23. Jack Prelutsky’s new poetry app!

 

app photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

app photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

April is National Poetry Month!

One of my favorite children’s poets, Jack Prelutsky has a new poetry app, The New Kid on the Block – interactive storybook of poems!  It’s based on his book, The New Kid on the Block and includes a collection of eighteen poems that will make you laugh out loud!  The app was created by Wanderful Interactive Storybooks and Living Books. 

To begin your poetry adventure, Click on either “Read to Me” or “Let Me Play.”   Scroll through the

Forty Performing Bananas! photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Forty Performing Bananas! photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

selection of poems, then pick a poem!  Jack Pretlusky will be your guide.  To select a poem, click on the arrows.  To play inside a poem, click “Let me play.” While you’re deciding, Jack Pretlusky will sing you a poem about an alligator.  This will make you smile.

One of the key components in a good book app is the ability to clearly see and hear the words.  The New Kid on the Block app does this and more!  In this poetry book app, you can tap on any word to hear it speak.  When you’re listening to the poem, each word is highlighted so you can follow along with the reader.   For example in Forty Performing Bananas, you can click FORTY and the word forty is read out loud with dancing bananas!  

Explore Jack Prelutsky’s website

Two more poetry apps:

For more poetry ideas check out a few poetry websites and past ALSC poetry blog posts:

This month’s blog post is by “Poetry Paige,” ALSC Digital Content Task Force.  We would love to hear from you.  Please email us at digitalcontenttaskforce@gmail.com or add a comment below.  

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24. Bookspotting App Tracks Scenes From Scottish Books

bookspottingPublishing Scotland has partnered with technology company Spot Specific to develop an app that plots the locations of scenes from Scottish books onto a map.

The app is called Bookspotting and is available for iOS and Android devices. It includes data points from thousands of books ranging from fiction to children’s literature. Users can search for characters, authors, themes and by location. The app contains recommended literary tours, guiding users through the adventures of characters. It works without an Internet connection, so that readers don’t have to find an Internet connection to use it. There is even a feature that directs users to local book stores.

The app also serves as a book recommendation engine, suggesting Scottish reads based on a user’s preferences. (Via The BBC).

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25. iPad Use and Babies: Throwing a Wrench in the Works

I think we all uttered a collective scream as one when news of this particular Fisher Price toy came to our attention this holiday season past:

ipadchair 500x250 iPad Use and Babies: Throwing a Wrench in the Works

It’s called the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat and out of curiosity I wondered if it was still on the market.  Indeed it is, and the comments on Amazon make for a day’s worth of reading right there.  Naturally the notion of strapping your child into a device and forcing them to look at a screen ala Clockwork Orange (admittedly a baby in a bowler would be ADORABLE!) isn’t the most soothing thought in the world.

What reminded me of the existence of this terribly toy-related miscalculation?  Nothing more than the recent slate of articles discussing small children and screen time.  Parents these days have to take a stand on what they believe is an appropriate amount of screen time with any kiddo.  The facts aren’t entirely in on the matter, but that’s not stopping anyone from voicing an opinion.

Undoubtedly the most trustworthy is probably going to be the American Academy of Pediatrics, in large part because they haven’t an agenda in mind.  Their piece on Media and Children states without equivocation, “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”  Seems pretty cut and dried.

But then there goes the Today Show throwing a wrench in the works.  Surprise: Doc who devised screen time limits says iPads may be okay for babies.  Come again?  According to Today the statement comes from Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, who co-authored the American Academy of Pediatrics 2011 guidelines that frown on media use by kids younger than 2.  His defense?  He wrote the guidelines before iPads got big.  He argues that iPads, because they are interactive (unlike television) are a far better use of a baby’s time than TV or other passive activities.  All well and good, but the piece does also mention that we don’t actually know how they affect developing brains at this time.

What I don’t quite get is what Dr. Christakis is attempting to do here.  Let’s look at it logically.  If he is right, and babies can benefit from iPads, does that outweigh the danger of giving some parents all clear so that they can ignore their kiddos for long swaths of time?  At one point in the piece he says, “This is not just to allow their child to play willy-nilly for hours and hours.”  So the best case scenario is that everyone with a baby and an iPad follows his advice, the babies play with iPads and get marginally (and there is zippo evidence of this, I might note) smarter, and everyone’s happy.  The worst case scenario?  That people strap their babies into these devices for hours at a time, it has no benefits, and is indeed detrimental to the developing brains.  Basically, I just want to know if he thinks this is worth the risk.  Honestly, is it the worst thing in the world to advise parents not to let their kids do iPads before the age of two?  What problem is Dr. Christakis solving here?

Back in August the Washington Post wrote about the fact that toy companies looking to promote the educational benefits of apps found themselves up a tree without any evidence on hand.  So who do you trust in these cases?

Simply thinking aloud.

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