Sunday, July 14, 2013

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2013: Book Apps

The American Association of School Librarians is a wonderful professional organization to support school librarians in their work with students, teachers and parents. For the past year, I have been part of the task force to recommend the Best Apps for Teaching and Learning.This week I'd like to share our recommendations for 2013.

AASL has honored apps of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning. The apps foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration and are user friendly to encourage a community of learners to explore and discover. Our task force organized the apps we recommended into the following five categories:
  • Books
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
  • Organization & Management
  • Social Sciences
  • Content Creation
This week, I will share a sampling of the apps we recommended. For the full list, please head over to the AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning website.

Our committee selected five book apps to recommend, ranging from fun books for kindergartners to in-depth science books for high school students. One of my favorites has been Fam Bam: Got to Have Music.
Fam Bam: Got to Have Musicdeveloped by See Here Studios & RnB Productions
featuring Brandy, Ray J, Sonja & Willie Norwood
available for iOS Universal (iPad/iPhone/iPod)
ages 4 - 8
currently $2.99

Fam Bam is a playful, fun app that celebrates how important it is to respect everybody's own tastes. Featuring music and narration by rhythm-and-blues singer Brandy Norwood and her family, this app engages children with its playful tone, love of music and cartoon animation. Everyone in this family loves music, but each person has their own favorites and doesn't want to listen to the others' music. What's a tight-knit fam bam to do? The conflict resolves with a fun twist as everyone learns to compromise.

You'll get a fun sense of this app from the trailer:

Fam Bam has big kid appeal. They love all the different musical styles. The cartoon illustrations are upbeat and fun, and appeal to elementary school kids - they love the fact that it's narrated by the little dog! My students have enjoyed listening/reading it over and over, and yet I think it also holds an important message for all our kids. Work together to appreciate everybody's tastes and reach out to find a compromise that works.

I especially like my colleague Sue Bartle's suggestion that a Fam Bam is any tight-knight community. We can talk about a family, a classroom, a group of friends as a fam bam. It would be fun to have a class create their own Fam Bam story about music, art, or books that they like.

Have fun exploring these and the other apps that AASL recommended as the Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2013.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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