Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Bridging the Gap on Educational Apps

Part of our role as Children’s Librarians is to help parents navigate the plethora of options available for early education on a digital platform. While these apps have lots of potential when used with parental guidance, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming for parents to sort through. This is where we can step in with exposure to free or low-cost educational apps that are readily available for use on mobile devices.

Many library systems have a tablet device for use with programs or roving reference services. This device can also be used to assist parents and their children in testing educational apps before they commit to them. Our library is moving towards a model where mounted tablets would allow the staff to rotate educational apps every few weeks or so, allowing for a wide variety of educational apps to be experienced by our customers. This arrangement allows for librarians to assist parents in learning how to use the app with their children but also allows for parents to have the option to get the app on their personal device if their child enjoys it and is benefiting from it.

The idea is rotate through free or low cost apps to keep the experience and the resources accessible. Children’s librarians come across many materials that parents may not, we also have the benefit of receiving feedback from lots of parents and other educators about which educational apps have been successful with children from varying backgrounds and with varying educational needs. With all of this knowledge at our disposal we are uniquely positioned to provide access to educational apps and model their use to parents seeking additional tools to help their children learn.

What tools do you use to help parents find educational apps?



Kalyn Shields


  1. Vicki Kouchnerkavich

    We have an iPad in our Youth Services, that I switch out games every 2 weeks or so. Currently we are using the Guided Access feature to lock down the iPad since a staff person isn’ t always in the area where it is used. The Guided Access feature allows only 1 game to be open at a time. Would you know of other solutions that would allow more the 1 game to be access, yet have no access the internet?

  2. Elizabeth

    I like your ideas! Maybe take a look at what the local schools are using in terms of online learning. Many of those programs have free apps – IXL, Bob Books, etc. That would build recognition of the library as a place for parents to engage with children in succeeding at school.
    I’m also interested in tablets for Family Literacy. I’m wondering how manage a collection of iPads with adults and early literacy apps. I’d like to see parents and children using apps and such to enjoy learning together and building a family culture around learning.

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