I really don’t see why adults shouldn’t share apps with their children in just the same way that they share print books with them. Anecdotally, from our social media and other contact with parents, that’s just what the parents who read picture books to their children but also have access to iPads do.
That’s Kate Wilson of Nosy Crow, in a widely applauded and deeply detailed essay: A Defence of Story Apps After a Speaker at the Bookseller Childrens’ Conference Said That Apps Interfered With Story.
Wilson’s “well-argued riposte,” as characterized by my colleague Philip Jones at The Bookseller for The FutureBook inThis other country, was saying this, per Jones:
Her chief point was that “successful making of story apps requires an understanding that apps are another country, and we should do things differently there”. Furthermore, publishers absolutely have a responsibility to be wherever children are. “If children are spending a lot of time with touch-screen devices, I think that we should want reading to be part of the entertainment they find there. And I think that, if they find reading there, it has to compete effectively with other things they find in the same place – TV, games and social media.”
Meanwhile, another thoughtful write on the subject from Bev Humphrey, a speaker at the #kidsconf14, as we hashtagged The Bookseller Children’s Conference last week. In The Bookseller app debate, Humphrey writes:
One of the biggest issues that came out of it was whether book apps are a good thing. Nicolette Jones, children’s editor of the Sunday Times was somewhat scathing about apps…In her opinion too much interactivity takes up the space in your imagination that you would be using with a classic picture book.
And there, Humphrey is getting at the heart of the problem perceived by many with a lot of apps: The technological capabilities — the “enhancements,” as they’re sometimes called of video, image, audio, interactivity — actually get in the way of the immersive-reading imaginative context for children, rather than support or deepen that experience.
By all accounts I’ve read, Nosy Crow’s consistently acclaimed apps are the exception. They make a point of overcoming this, and — when Wilson gave me a #PorterMeets interview for The Bookseller — she told me something she says every chance someone gives it to her:
Reading must not be the most boring thing a child can do on a touchscreen.
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By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
The FutureBook: Would You Give an App to a Child?
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