Category Archives: eArticle

eArticle Review: iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop has recently published iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store, which is an in depth research study that examined 200 of the top selling education Apps with the intention of tracking trends in the industry and setting best practices for developers. Take a look at some of their findings:


Apps are an important and growing medium for providing educational content to children, both in terms of their availability and popularity.
• Over 80% of the top selling paid apps in the Education category of the iTunes Store target children.
• In 2009, almost half (47%) of the top selling apps targeted preschool or elementary aged children. That number has increased to almost three quarters (72%).
• The percentage of apps for children has risen in every age category, accompanied by a decrease in apps for adults.

Early learning apps for toddler/preschool are particularly prominent. Developers should consider potential saturation of this market.
• Apps for toddlers/preschoolers are the most popular age category (58%), and experienced the greatest growth (23%).
• General early learning is the most popular subject (47%), and there are significantly more general early learning apps than the second most popular subject (math, 13%).

The first iLearn report was published in 2009.


eArticle Review: For Reading and Learning, Kids Prefer E-Books to Print Books

In a study of 24 families with children ranging from three to six years old, researchers from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center found that children prefer reading an e-book to a print book. Comprehension was the same with both, with the exception of enhanced e-books. Enhanced e-books with games and other interactive elements hindered comprehension of the story. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center plans larger studies on the issue. The article continues with a discussion of the children’s e-book and app market. Concerns are raised about a possible digital divide with disadvantaged children not having access to e-books. In conclusion, experts and publishers agree that getting a child interested in reading is the important thing, not the format of the book.

Posted by Leslie McNabb

eBooks are NOT bad for your kids!

Digital Book World has some great articles about electronic publishing for children. Check out this one entitled: Are Children’s E-Books Really Terrible For Your Children?

My favourite part:
If you pay attention to the media covering book publishing, you have probably noticed a recent uptick in stories about of children’s e-books and apps. Much of this coverage is borderline-hysterical scare-mongering over zombified children’s faces lit by the flickering glow of the blue iPad screen.
Shouldn’t they, instead, be curled up in front of a warm fire with an oversized edition of Berenstain Bears, cuddling with both parents under an old quilt sewn by wise grandmothers at a time when peace filled the earth?

eArticle Review: Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

Publishers can be such buzz killers. This is what we’re dealing with in the library world these days:

LAST year, Christmas was the biggest single day for e-book sales by HarperCollins. And indications are that this year’s Christmas Day total will be even higher, given the extremely strong sales of e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too. And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy.

Too easy? They have completely tied our hands with regards to lending eBooks. OverDrive is such a DRM racket and it’s the only player on the field at the moment. There is so little available for library patrons and it’s so hard to get to.

*angry noise*

Check out some of the comments on Slashdot. I like this one:

Authors and editors are valuable, but publishers are basically parasites nowadays.

eArticle review: Digital literacy crucial early in life, educators say

Faith Rogow, the founding president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, which we looked at a little here made a presentation recently at an Early Childhood Education conference put on by the Pittsburg Association for the Education of Young Children.  The Tribune Review wrote a nice little article about it here.

In this new world, “what does it mean to be literate?” Rogow asked the 200 teachers attending the daylong symposium on Friday. 

Reading and writing are part of the answer, she said. But so is the ability to navigate the new media landscape. For early education teachers, it means preparing youngsters “for the world they actually live in,” Rogow said — the world of interactive, instant communication and information-gathering.

This conference was aimed at early childhood educators, but many of the programs were presented by librarians.  Check out the conference brochure.  I wish I could have been there!  I am contacting a few of the presenters to pick their brains and find out when they will next be speaking somewhere on my side of the continent. 

Programs I would have loved to have sat in on:
There’s an App for That: Selecting Quality Children’s Books in E-book Format by Tess Reismeyer
The Library Online Playground by Caralee Sommerer & Megan Fogt
Using Media & Technology Tools in the Early Childhood Classroom by Michael Robb

eArticle review: The Children’s eBook Revisited

In my last post I mused about what an eBook actually is.  Warren Buckleitner has some ideas on the topic.  This article was published in 2011, and is based on data collected between April and December of 2010, which means the information is obsolete now, given how fast eBook technology is changing.  Let’s take a look anyway, just for kicks.

This peer-reviewed article gives a snapshot of eBooks for kids.  It includes an eBook Glossary of Terms and a (little too much) history about eBooks.  

The author makes a distinction between eReaders and Animated Stories.  This is confusing for me because I think of eReaders as being the device upon which you view an eBook, but I do see what he’s getting at.  Many of the eBooks we’ve read are basically just digitized versions of a print book with some minor animation, highlighted text and audio.  Here’s what he says the differences are:

Less interactive
Easier to adapt from a print book 
A PDF file is the most common and least interactive examples of an eReader. 
Features might include:
• Font control (color, shape & size) 
• Navigation helpers (tilt, page swiping, screen rotation) 
• Word search features (ability to type a word, and jump to the word). 
• Minimal frosting (e.g., hidden animations, popups or activities) 
• Cut and copy to your clipboard. 
• Hyperlinks, both internal and external. 
• Decoding helpers (narration, word highlighting, pronunciation, language toggling and/or translation).

Animated Stories
More interactive
Many offer two modes: Read to Me (narrated text) or Read it Myself (just text).
The author claims that the interactivity in animated stories is based on Apple’s 8 pillars of the iPad:
1. A large multi-touch screen that can register multiple fingers at once, as well as how hard the fingers are pushing and in what direction
2. Motion detection in the form of a tilt or a shake
3. Microphone captures your voice for story narration
4. Cameras that can be used for scanning bar codes or seeing pictures
5. Speakers
6. Long lasting batteries and enough internal memory to store hundreds of apps
7. Internet access that is fast, free (if you are in a Wi-Fi zone) and smart
8. Apps

What I found most interesting about this article was the author’s analysis of the various interactivity techniques commonly used in animated stories (hot spots, hunt and find, motion based input and motion tabs).  In the “academic disclaimer” at the beginning of the article, Buckleitner states that “the definition of ‘literacy’ goes beyond decoding and encoding,” and goes on to describe how this new fangled medium is not just entertainment, but rather an important pedagogical and diagnostic tool in literacy and language education.  The multimedia environment provided by eBooks (animated stories, potato, potahto) can not only support traditional literacy development through the use of built-in dictionaries, language toggles, highlighting or sound-it-out functions; but also the development of what we now call multiliteracy, or media literacy.  But that’s a whole other discussion.

Buckleitner, W. (2011). THE CHILDREN’S EBOOK REVISITED. Children’s Technology Review19(1), 6.