1) Whether you have an idea for an app or are looking for an idea, you can start at iKids with this article—http://kidscreen.com/2013/09/09/how-to-make-a-childrens-app/—which breaks down the process of creating an app into five steps:

  • Competitive analysis
  • Design and testing methodologies
  • Finding a developer if you can’t build it yourself
  • Business models
  • Marketing

For example, to see what the competition has already done, look up apps in stores like Google Play or App Store, and follow the similar or recommended apps from there. You can search app intelligence services, like App Annie, www.appannie.com/ and Distimo, www.distimo.com/ and app review sites, like 148 Apps, http://www.148apps.com/, or Apps Playground, http://appsplayground.com/. If you’re looking for ideas, read industry reports like those from the Cooney Center, www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/, who often identify trends and opportunities in the market.

2) Fewer than 15% of 100 leading STEM apps include meaningful common core and science standards information. The National Education Association has compiled a list of the 10 Best STEM Resources: www.nea.org/tools/lessons/stem-resources.html.

3) So what do eBooks do best? You can find out here at Kidscreen, http://kidscreen.com/2013/04/15/playing-by-the-book-what-ebooks-do-best/. Highlighting text with audio, creating tap-on support for both words in the text and elements in illustrations, and providing options to support different reading abilities are all ways in which eBooks can help foster reading skills. Through their interactivity, eBooks are also well-suited to showing different characters’ points of view. And combining story with games can make the reader an active part of the story experience. Even simple actions like swiping to make the wind blow in The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore or hearing the child’s name spoken by the pigeon in Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App give the child a presence in the story that engages them in a different way than reading a book aloud or watching a movie on a movie screen.

Narda Lacey Fargotstein is the author of The Whole Computer Catalog, and Articles on Women Writers, Vol I and II. Narda can be reached at: nfargotste