What's apt in an app? #FutureChat recap

What's apt in an app? #FutureChat recap

And if you're trying to choose an app for your child?
It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to strengthen your child's skills with multiplication...figure that out first. Because it's very easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles and interaction in an app. And forget why you got there in the first place.
That's Clarisa Kluver (seen as @iPad _storytime on Twitter), in a "Family Confidential" video with Annie Fox. It was pointed out to us by FutureBook community member (and apps man) Dave Neal, following our #FutureChat on children's apps Friday. And while Kluver -- who also joined us Friday -- isn't limited in her comments to reading or book apps, a lot of what she's saying touches on some of the fundamental issues in the space. It's some of those issues -- as flagged during The Bookseller's recent Children's Conference #kidsconf14 -- that will be talked about at Frankfurt Book Fair this week. For many publishers, the question of apps has become a confused one, a kind of sideline in terms of questionable sales and controversial learning values. We looked at them at in #FutureChat following Philip Jones' FutureBook essay, This other country, a look-back at some points of the conference's debate. Having set up some of these issues in a walkup, Would you give an app to a child?, we had an energetic conversation in #FutureChat. And it was Kluver -- conversing with us while working with a school event in San Luis Obispo, California -- who made an interesting point about one specific application of apps for families: With Ontario's Carla Douglas, Neal (@WalrusWink on Twitter) was interested in a point that the use of apps with children isn't meant -- in the opinion of many -- to preclude the importance of parents being physically present with chidren in reading. I asked if Douglas felt that trying to in some way substitute for the parental presence makes sense? Birgitte Rasine from the Silicon Valley area in California felt strongly on this question of the parents' engagement, as well: And London author Karen Inglis qualified that only by saying that age is a factor in determining when kids may be able to work well with apps without personal, physical supervision by parents: Chicago-based Jane Steen made the good point that it's not only about reading for and with kids: From Bristol, an asssertion that apps aren't to overtake print entirely in a reading-healthy home: There was some concern about confusion of terms ("app" vs. "book app" vs. "ebook" vs. "enhanced ebook" and so on), particularly outside the industry, when it comes to parents trying to navigate the offerings on the market. In London, Ricardo Fayet seemed more willing than most to entertain the idea of apps replacing books, or perhaps becoming what was meant by "books" eventually: Montana's Carol Buchanan wasn't persuaded, pointing out distinctions in the interactive and typical textual environments: While London's Caleb Woodbridge had some visual work too bring to the construct of the interactive element: There was a good bit of support for the value of audio from some of our participants, including Fabled Lands co-creator (with Dave Morris) Jamie Thomson: Agreed with by Patrick Smith in New York: And among recurring themes was one involving cases in which learning disabilities seemed approachable in some apps' designs, as in Steen's discovery of the importance for her daughter of hearing and/or voicing words as well as seeing text: And another theme, the baffling array of terminology and offerings for parents, as from Half Moon Bay, California: While many issues and confusions were raised and talked about, the general tone seemed to be that apps not only have a place but a good one going forward -- there's just lots of work to be done on understanding their potential and redefining their role in the industry. As Buchanan put it.
  Our #FutureChat conversations with The FutureBook.net digital publishing community on Twitter are held Fridays: 4 p.m. London time; 11 a.m. New York time; 8 a.m. Los Angeles; 5 p.m. Berlin; 3 p.m. GMT. Everyone is welcome to join in. Registration now is open for The FutureBook Conference 2014 -- 14th November at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster. (#FutureBook14) Early Bird pricing ends 17th October. Main image - Shutterstock: Goodluz