What Apps Do That I Can’t: Responses to Questions from #ala2013, by Angela Reynolds
At our Conversation Starter at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, an attendee posed the question, “What advantages do apps have over other traditional formats?” In response, I’d like to share one really good example from my own experience.
In my Milk & Cookies Storytime, I used the Rosemary Wells app “Bunny Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” Now, I know the song perfectly well in English, and so do the kids at storytime and all their parents. But I DO NOT know it in French (though some of our patrons did), nor do I know it in Spanish or Japanese (one little girl did know the Japanese! ). But in this storytime, because I had the app projected onto the screen, we learned the words for “head,” “shoulders,” “knees,” “toes,” “eyes,” “ears,” “mouth,” and “nose” in 3 other languages, and tried to sing the song in those languages, too. The kids loved it. The parents loved it. And it only took about 5 minutes total of storytime. Not only was it a language and cultural experience, it was physically active. We were singing and dancing the whole time, and all because of an app. Not the passive, sit and stare at a screen experience AT ALL.
These are the kind of app experiences I am looking for—the ones that add a richness to storytime and model for parents that there are fun learning opportunities on those little devices they are all so fond of. During storytime, I quickly tell the parents the name of the app and where they can find it on the iPads that they can use after storytime, so that they can explore it even more and decide if they want to download it for their own collection. Modeling, sharing fun educational experiences, and helping parents find and use early literacy apps for use at home are some of the great ways we can enrich the lives of the families that willingly step through our doors!Angela J. Reynolds Youth Services Manager Annapolis Valley Regional Library