2012 —> Tablets with Android Apps, the Mini & Surface, The Android Awakening, Embodied Cognition and the Pedagogical Renaissance….
..not to mention “narrative driven interactivity” (aka eBooks), the Wii U and the new psychology of dual screen play. All in one year! That’s why 2012 will go down as the most active and most interesting in my 27 years as a children’s tech reviewer. It is the year we reached the digital tipping point when every child has a tablet.
It’s the OLPC (one laptop per child) dream come true and it means we actually could have a “pedagogical renaissance” where every child has access to any lesson, on any subject; limited only by their curiosity.
Three forces that have pushed us to this tipping point.
1. Moore’s Law (the relentless advance of technology).
2. Demand. The insatiable demand for the new media and new ideas and human curiosity among children.
3. A surge in supply. Cheap, quality software, in the form of apps. In the past 12 months, I’ve reviewed 480 mostly Apple apps, not counting 122 video games, and flipped through enough children’s eBook pages to wear a trough in my iPad’s screen.
What about 2013? Based on the above, what will next year bring? Here are some observations.
1. MORE APPS WILL BREAK OUT OF iTUNES. I recently saw a young girl pick up a Kindle HD, thinking it was an iPad Mini. She didn’t care because Toca Hair 2 was running on the Kindle, and she wanted to make a hairstyle. Toca Boca smells a new market, and so will others. Access to hardware will create demand for software, aka apps in 2013.
2. LITTLE APP MAKERS CAN GET BIG. It’s been fun to watch some small publishers prosper (http://bit.ly/RiEF0P), despite selling products that cost less than a dollar. This is possible because the installed base of hardware is growing, combined with a naturally curious base of customers (children) who are ravenous consumers of digital content. Proven children’s app publishers will become more valuable in 2013.
3. BEYOND ANGRY BIRDS. There’s been a marked increase in free apps that blur ethical lines by way of in-app purchases or embedded “smart” advertising. While I’m glad to see the FTC stepping in (http://bit.ly/VnC31P) there’s no substitute for due diligence by adults. Ideally parents, teachers and librarians will steer children toward the higher rated products. This is idealistic thinking, however. In 2013, we’ll continue to have more powerful tools being used for less-than-powerful ways.
As I peer into my Android 4.0 powered gorilla glass multi-touch crystal ball, I see a lot more tablets in children’s hands and the continued evolution of app design. See for example The Orchestra by TouchPress (13) which lets you explore a symphony orchestra as if you’re sitting in the horn section; not to mention the KAPi award winners on page 4.
Enjoy the issue, and Happy 2013.
• A new Dust or Magic eBook Retreat will be held April 21-23 in Honesdale PA.
• LittleClickers.com has a new look and a new site for 2013. See page 3.
• Are you a world-class digital storyteller? The BolognaRagazzi Digital Prize entry form is now open for entries. Learn more at http://goo.gl/yBrwY
• Don’t miss the 4th Dust or Magic AppCamp, in Monterey, CA on May 19-21. Visit http://dustormagic.com/appcamp