App Watch: A look at what publishers are launching in the mobile space.
Put Me In The Story
Produced by: Sourcebooks
Price: Free with one digital book
● Imagine the look of delight when that special child in your life sees his/her name in the bedtime story you're reading together. Sourcebooks's new Put Me In The Story allows caregivers to bring bedtime stories to life, with the ability to personalize interactive stories with a child's name, making him/her the star of the story.
"Put Me In The Story is unique in that it takes bestselling picture books that children, parents and educators already know and love, and brings your child into those stories," says Dominique Raccah, publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks. "For kids, seeing their name throughout the book makes them feel special and gets them excited about reading. For parents, these books create an unbelievable bond."
These digital books offer a level of interactivity that is not available in customized print books. With subtle animation and sound effects, children are encouraged to engage with the story.
"One of the first pages children see is the title page that reads '[Insert name]'s Night Night Book'," says Heather Moore, senior publicity manager at Sourcebooks. "It's their book, so kids are really loving that."
The app is free in the App Store and comes with Marianne Richmond's The Night Night Book. Additional books are available as in-app purchases for $4.99 (I personally recommend Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi). Sourcebooks plans to add at least one new book to the store each month.
Interactive iBooks from Providence eLearning
Produced by: Providence eLearning
Price: $9.99 each
● Do you love classic literature but find those big dusty thomes and tiny Old English type intimidating? Providence eLearning's Apple iBooks can help. Filled with interactive material, such as video lectures, audio narration and review questions, they add a new level of engagement to those glorious, if occasionally unapproachable, texts. These features are all designed to enhance learning by helping reinforce what students read and giving instant feedback, from within the book.
"The narrators are top educators who are passionate about their material," says Cole Mathisen, e-learning coordinator at Providence eLearning. "We combine their literary expertise with technical expertise to create the ultimate comprehensive and interactive learning experience."
There are currently six titles available, including Macbeth, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf and The Poetry of William Blake, with more on the way. Providence plans to release a new title each month.
Atlas By Collins
Produced by: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
● If you thought global atlas apps began and ended with Google Earth, now there's Atlas by Collins. Drawing on the HarperCollins UK imprint's rich history in map publishing, Atlas by Collins takes a different approach to geographic exploration. While not as granular as Google Earth and its grainy, stitched-together satellite images, Atlas by Collins focuses on beautiful, well-organized globes, all with full swipe and zoom functionality and arranged under three thematic headings: atlas essentials, people and power, and living earth. With seven distinct globes, each with its own set of overlays (a population globe visualizes distribution, density, urban population, etc.), Atlas by Collins packs a lot of data onto your tablet. As each globe must be downloaded individually, the app can be a bit of a memory hog (minimum 620MB and maxing out at 1.1GB), but individual globes can be removed from, and added back to, the device.
Collins, which was founded in 1819 on the principle of "creating knowledge for all," has plans to add more globes in the future, bringing even more functionality and value to an app that's as powerful for personal use as in the classroom.
Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe
Produced by: Harper Collins Publishers Limited
Have you ever wanted a grand tour of the universe with an astrophysicist as your guide, all wrapped up with text explanations, diagrams and awesome videos? Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe delivers. The app provides:
-210 full-color, interactive articles supplemented with Professor Cox's mind-expanding insight that tell the story of the universe and reveal its wonders
-two-and-half hours of BBC videos, with publisher Harper Collins having reached a deal with the BBC for footage from Brian Cox's award-winning TV series, "Wonders of the Solar System" and "Wonders of the Universe"
-and hundreds of photographs of various objects in space.
Particle physicist and University of Manchester professor Brian Cox is well known in the U.K. for making physics accessible to the public through bestselling books such as Wonders of the Solar System and Why Does E=mc2? As well as several popular BBC TV series, In Einstein's Shadow, the BBC Horizon series, Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe.
Professor Cox brings elements of both media to this beautiful, easy-to-use app. Don't worry if you barely understand the basics of astronomy. Wonders of the Universe is designed to appeal to be accessible for casual explorers as well as those looking for a deeper educational experience. Users can travel "with" Professor Cox or jet off on solo voyages of discovery through the planets of the Solar System to local stars and on through the galaxy. This app links seven 3D environments ready for exploration: Subatomic, Atomic, Local Stars, Solar System, Milky Way, Galaxy and the Universe.
The full text from the Collins books Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe are also included, allowing users to capturing the amazing beauty, history, complexity and marvel of our universe.