It has been truly amazing watching how quickly apps for mobile devices have developed and proliferated. And yet it’s harder than ever to find a great app. The iTunes and Google Play app stores are overflowing with possibilities, but how can librarians and teachers tell if an app will truly engage children, deepen their thinking and help them make interesting projects? The range of choices is overwhelming.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has gathered school librarians from around the country to evaluate apps, looking for those that contribute exceptional value to the teaching and learning experience. AASL’s Task Force for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning hopes to expand the brand started by the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee, by developing a list of twenty-five best apps that are innovative technology tools that support instruction, teaching, learning and engage students.
AASL is seeking nominations (see the online nomination form) from librarians and teachers who have used apps with children. We hope you will nominate apps that you have found engaging and interesting. The task force will look at a wide range of apps, from book apps to apps that students use for organization and management to science and technology apps. The task force has discussed criteria for evaluation and developed categories to organize and group apps. The task force hopes to spend the next several months evaluating apps through personal use, as well as classroom and school library application.
The task force has set the bar high with an inaugural list developed by the spring of 2013 and the first presentation at 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Hope to see you there!
Mary Ann Scheuer is the librarian at Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, CA. She is a member of AASL’s Task Force for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. She is also an active member of ALSC. Mary Ann is also the chair of the Cybils Award Book App Committee. She writes the blog Great Kid Books and can be found on Twitter as @MaryAnnScheuer.
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