Click here for a PDF version of this page.
- Appeal to kids of a variety of learning styles and abilities
- Access to important technologies for kids who don’t have it at home
- New media can appeal to kids when their interest in books flags
- Opportunities for productive (and fun!) interaction and cooperation between kids
- Opportunities for multi-level programming to parents and children
- Positioning of librarian as greatly needed mentor for tech use with kids
- Great draw for the library!
Click here for an additional bibliography of scholarly and practitioner articles on app and tablet use with young people.
First, catch your apps!
1. Choose your app review sources.
Resources for App Reviews:
- Best Educational Apps – Review Sites
- Common Sense Media
- Best Apps for Kids
- Apps Gone Free
- Appy Smarts
- iPad Kids
- Best Kids Apps
- Mind Leap
- Kids App Reviews
- 148 Apps
- School Library Journal (online and in print)
- The Horn Book (online and in print)
- Kirkus Reviews (online and in print)
- Publishers’ Weekly
- Smart Apps for Kids
2. Choose your selection criteria
Some common criteria:
integration of features
quality of audio
clarity of navigation
ease of use
levels of difficulty
customization of settings
accuracy of content
appeals to learning objectives
diversity of representation
Other possible considerations:
themes of intended programming
patron interest and requests
Then, use them!
- Kids love interacting with one another while they’re using apps
- Kids enjoy adult approval and acknowledgement of achievement (high fives go a long way!)
- The more interactive the app, the longer kids stay with it
- Allow for kids’ varied interests, experiences, and preferences
- Children progress quickly from novice to expert when using a well-designed app
- Headphones can minimize disruption with noisy apps (and splitters can allow multiple users to share a single tablet)
- The best results come with apps that provide clear play, respond overtly to users and give feedback for interactions, offer clear objectives, and contain limited distractions
Additional resources on app use with youth:
- LittleeLit.com – the hub of ebook and app info as well as reviews
- “Technology and Interactive Media Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8”
- Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media
- Central Coast Children’s Foundation article (PDF)
Click here for more information about the Closing the App Gap IMLS-funded research and planning grant behind these suggestions.