Blog Archives

California State Library: Early Learning with Families 2.0

I’ve been a little AWOL from the Little eLit blog recently. Many thanks to Amy for keeping content fresh while I’ve been elsewhere! Here’s one of the projects I’m going to be working on, and the official announcement from Gerry Maginnity, the Acting State Librarian of California.

My part in ELF 2.0 will be to create a technology tooklit to help children’s librarians integrate new media and technology for children into library collections, services and programs (It will be free and available to the public once it’s done. The prototype should be ready by November.) This project will be the next iteration of an existing project, the original ELF, but like so many other initiatives, ELF needs to be re-worked to take into account the realities of modern information consumption, especially for families with young children. I’ll be doing a whole lot of talking at the California Library Association Conference in Long Beach in November, where I’ll be working with Dr. Josh Sparrow of the Brazelton Touchpoints CenterCarisa Kluver of Digital StorytimeShira Lee Katz of Common Sense Media, Francie Dillon, Sharon Krull, and a whole pile of library rockstars. We’ll also be putting on some webinars and in-person trainings around California.

There are two related technology for children pilot projects at the Mission Viejo  and Rancho Cucamonga Libraries in Southern California that will give me lots of learning to report on. Mission Viejo is home to Little eLit Think Tankers Genesis Hansen and Allison Tran, and Rancho is a 2013 IMLS Medal Winner.

Drs. Marianne Martens and Virginia Walter will be helping to provide some badly needed library-based research around the issue of children, technology and libraries. The amazing and inspiring Suzanne Flint at the California State Library will be wrangling us all, and Sam Eddington (incoming chair of the ALSC Education Committee) will be helping to facilitate the discussions.

How to Rate an App

Many app review sources use rating systems to rate apps for young children.  There are a number of factors to take into consideration, like the 6 Early Literacy skills, but there are also format-driven elements that can determine the quality of an app or eBook for kids.

Common Sense Media has a detailed, thorough description of their rating system which describes how they arrive at the conclusions they do about apps for kids.  There is a section that describes in detail what’s appropriate at each age and includes information about cognitive, social, emotional, physical and technological development. For app ratings they take into account the following factors:

  • Age Appropriateness
  • Consumerism
  • Drinking/drugs and smoking
  • Ease of play
  • Language
  • Learning potential
  • Online privacy and safety
  • Positive messages
  • Positive role models
  • Scariness
  • Sexy stuff (ha! I like how they word that)
  • Violence

Digital Storytime gives an in-depth overview of their rating system as well.  They take into account the following factors, as well as a general editorial overview.

  • Animation
  • Audio
  • Bedtime
  • Educational
  • Extras
  • Interactivity
  • Originality
  • Re-Readability

If you do a Google search for “how to rate an app” there are a whole bunch of websites that rate apps and publish their rating system.  Once we get our ducks in a row with funding and devices for our circulating tablet programs we’ll be taking a look at many of these sources, and putting together our own app rating rubric to determine which apps and eBooks should be included.