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Blogger Spotlight: Apps Playground

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

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Apps Playground is a phenomenal children’s app review site, headed by one of the most esteemed journalists in the industry, Stuart Dredge. We are very excited to pick his brain about predictions for the app industry, running an app review site, and being a parent in the technology age for the next edition of the Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlight!

Oceanhouse Media (OM): When did you first launch Apps Playground? How has it evolved since the beginning?

Stuart Dredge (SD): My wife Alice and I launched it in September 2010 as a side-project from our regular jobs (both freelance: I’m a journalist and she’s a market researcher).

The motivation was partly because we wanted to work on something together, and partly because we had two small children – three and one at the time – and had spotted a growing number of apps for kids on smartphones and tablets.

I bodged together a WordPress theme and away we went! But I’d say it became a serious thing at the start of 2013, when we started devoting more time to writing several posts a day. Later that year, we got it professionally redesigned.

We’re currently attracting 60,000+ unique visitors a month, and earlier this year launched our first e-book on Apple’s iBooks store, as an experimental spin-off.

OM: Do you remember the first app you ever downloaded?

SD: In my day job I’ve been writing about phones and apps for a LONG time – back in the days of downloadable Java games on the first colour-screen mobiles in the early 2000s. I think it might have been Jamdat Bowling.

In modern apps times – if you think of the launch of Apple’s App Store as the start of that – I was covering that launch for a mobile games site in 2008, so it would have been Super Monkey Ball most likely.

OM: Which apps would you say are essential for every parent to have on their iPad?

SD: Weirdly, I find it hard to answer this: it’s such a personal thing based on how old your children are, what their interests are, and which apps they respond to. It’s difficult to say ‘every parent and child will love THIS app…’

In general terms, though, a good mix of stuff is important I think – some creative apps, some stories, some educational apps and some just for playing. We’ve tended to plonk lots of apps from all genres on our iPad and let our children figure out which ones they like best – admittedly a benefit of having access to lots of promo codes.

OM: What are your kids’ favorite storybook apps?

SD: They love the Nosy Crow fairytales, and our six year-old is currently going through a wildlife phase, so anything with animals. They’ve enjoyed the Me Books app too: the option to re-record the dialogue as a family has been particularly fun. As two young boys, they’re also delighted by anything that references bums, poo, farts and so on! But they’ll also happily follow a Dr Seuss storybook for cleaner fare…

OM: What are the most important features that you look for in children’s apps?

SD: A spark – of creativity, of design, of storytelling… Something that stands out from the crowd. As a nerdy journalist who literally does scan an RSS feed every morning of new releases in the major App Store categories, a lot of rubbish passes my eyes, but the good stuff still leaps out.

SD: For educational apps, I’m keen to see if there’s a solid basis for the learning – how is it rooted in the curriculum, who are the advisers etc. And as both journalist and parent, I’m quite sharp on checking out how in-app purchases work when they’re used: finding a game whose virtual items go up to £69.99 is always disheartening.

OM: Complete the sentence: My favorite thing about being a parent in the technology age is ____.

SD: My favourite thing about being a parent in the technology age is the flurry of creativity and experimentation going into apps – every day there are two or three new things worth further investigation.

OM: What predictions do you have for the app industry in the next year?

SD: I hope some of the talented developers we’ve been writing about find it a bit easier to make money: all too often we’ve raved about a marvellous app only to hear later that it made peanuts from sales. If there’s a prediction here, it’s that more parents will realise the merits of paying for apps, and that Apple, Google, Amazon and others will continue working hard on helping them discover the best ones.

We’re seeing an upswing of releases for Android devices in response to the growing number in parents’ (and children’s) hands. Here in the UK, for example, supermarket Tesco sold hundreds of thousands of its Hudl tablets last year, a lot of them to parents. There’s a growing audience out there for Android apps, so I think more developers will target them.

I think the concerns about in-app purchases (IAP) will gradually ease as parents get more savvy about how IAP works and set the necessary restrictions; and as developers who’ve sailed close to the wind either clean up their acts or get scuppered by a combination of app store crackdowns and bad word-of-mouth.

OM: What is your favorite thing about reviewing and writing about apps?

SD: It’s fun: I’m a geek! And it feels like it’s a useful thing to be doing for parents – not just us, obviously, but the peers that we’re inspired by.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when there are hundreds of apps we could write about, and only so many hours of writing in the week. My least favourite thing is the awareness that we often struggle to reply to every developer who emails us, let alone write about every app we’d like to. We’re going to try to improve on both in the coming months.

OM: What app can you not live without?

SD: Impossible to pick one! Mailbox for trying to swipe my inbox into shape; Twitter for work and personal communication alike; Feedly for working my way through those RSS feeds; and Spotify for keeping the music playing throughout the day.

OM: If you were stranded on a desert island, which piece of technology would you want to have with you?

SD: An ocean-liner ;o)

Thank you so much to Stuart Dredge for participating in the Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlight! Stay tuned for more features from our favorite bloggers.

More Blogger Spotlights


The Next Generation of Coders

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

As a tech company, we’re always thrilled to see kids excited about technology, which is why we love the recent Kickstarter campaigns dedicated specifically to sparking young girls’ interests in engineering, technology, and programming.
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If you watched the Super Bowl, you may have seen this super catchy commercial for GoldieBlox, a company that began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Headed by Stanford engineer Debbie Sterling, the company creates construction set toys for girls with the mission of inspiring a future generation of female engineers. Sterling founded the company as a response to men greatly outnumbering women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. “We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers,” the company’s website says, “They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way.”

Hello Ruby is another Kickstarter campaign we love, which has already raised over $290,000 with 16 days left to go! Created by programming teacher Linda Liukas, Hello Ruby is an illustrated book starring a girl programmer that aims to teach children about programming and technology. “Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABC of Programming is imminent,” Liukas says on the Kickstarter page, “Our world is increasingly run by software and we need more diversity in the people who are building it.” You can find out more about Hello Ruby- and contribute funds to back the project- here.

If you have daughters, nieces, little sisters, or friends who are interested Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, check out some of our favorite resources! (boy & girl organizations/resources included further down)

Girls Who Code
This program aims to provide computer science education to one million young women by 2020. The NYC-based organization launches programs in New York, Detroit, San Francisco, and San Jose this year and seeks to empower female students in their junior and senior year of high school.

Girls Teaching Girls to Code
Girls Teaching Girls to Code is a program where Stanford women in Computer Science teach Bay Area high school girls to code. Students learn programming basics, build exciting projects, and develop strong relationships with mentors in the field. More camp locations coming soon.

Girl Develop It
Empowers women of all ages from diverse backgrounds and from around the world to develop software and tools for multiple industries.

Girl Scouts: Girls in Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math
There are now 5 new categories of STEM badges that Girl Scouts of all ranks can achieve!

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These great organizations cater to kids of all genders!

Digital Media Academy

Kid-tested, mother-approved technology camps at prestigious universities. Camps offered for programming & app development, music & audio production, robotics & engineering and much more!

Kids Code Camp
Free one-day non-profit events with the goal of inspiring younger generations to understand technology and open source coding and foster a desire to build imaginative things.

CODE
A non-profit dedicated to bringing computer science classes to every K-12 school in the United State.

Do you know about any other awesome organizations that encourage kids to learn about technology and programming? Share with us in a comment below!


Oceanhouse Media Celebrates 5 Years in the App Market

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Today we are thrilled to celebrate Oceanhouse Media’s 5th birthday! The past five years have taken us on an incredible journey, and today we reflect on how much we have learned and grown since our first app release in 2009. Oceanhouse Media has been true labor of love- endless hours of hard work, late nights, and creative problem solving from some of the best minds in business have helped push the company to where it is today. Of course, we have had TONS of fun along the way and are happy to say that we are just getting started.

But before we blow out our candles, let’s take a little walk down memory lane and recap how it all started…

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January 2009- Oceanhouse Media was founded by Michel & Karen Kripalani with the goal of creating apps that uplift, educate and inspire. The company was initially run out of the Kripalani’s home in Encinitas, CA.

March 2009- 51 days after the official formation of the company, Oceanhouse submits its first app for iPhone and iPod touch- Bowls. In less than a month, the app makes it to #10 in sales of all paid apps on the App Store.

—This was before the advent of the iPad and there were only 30,000 apps on the App Store (and we thought that was a lot!)—

June 2009- Oceanhouse Media partners with Hay House Publishers to bring their line of self-empowerment card decks, calendars, and more to the digital world.

September 2009- The company announces its second major license deal, partnering with Chronicle Books to adapt many of their fantastic products for the iPhone.

November 2009- Oceanhouse Media launches the first official Dr. Seuss app- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!- just in time for the holidays. This is just the first of an entire collection of Dr. Seuss apps!

January 2009- The company celebrates its first birthday with roughly 20 apps on the App Store.

April 2010- Apple releases the first iPad, and Oceanhouse Media creates its first four iPad apps: The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and Bowls HD.

July 2010- Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham is released as Oceanhouse Media’s 100th app.

September 2010- The company partners with Zondervan to release a line of Berenstain Bears Living Lights apps, beginning with The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers, The Berenstain Bears Go To Sunday School and The Berenstain Bears And The Golden Rule.

November 2010- Oceanhouse Media partners with Mercer Mayer to bring the timeless Little Critter books to the App Store.

December 2010- Oceanhouse Media releases its first apps for Android devices- The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

December 2010- The company partners with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to introduce a series of Tacky the Penguin digital book apps.

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The Oceanhouse Media Team

January 2011- Oceanhouse Media celebrates its one million paid app downloads on the App Store!

April 2011- The company releases It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex!, the first omBook in the Smithsonian Institution Prehistoric Pals Series.

April 2011- Oceanhouse Media begins releasing apps on Barnes and Noble’s NOOK Color.

May 2011- Oceanhouse Media secures a licensing agreements with Andersen Press to bring the classic Elmer the Patchwork Elephant books to the digital market.

May 2011- Oceanhouse Media introduces Once Upon a Potty: Girl and Once Upon a Potty: Boy apps from Alona Frankel’s toilet learning classics.

July 2011- A new licensing partnership with Kidwick Books kicks off with the release of Leo the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman.

July 2011- The company moves into a proper office space in Encinitas, CA.

August 2011- After a year of successful releases from the Berenstain Bears’ Living Lights series, Oceanhouse Media partners with HarperCollins Children’s Books to release more Berenstain Bears book apps, starting with The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle.

November 2011- Oceanhouse Media, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and Random House Children’s Books announce plans to bring Random House’s best-selling series The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library to the App Store.

March 2012- The Lorax reaches the number one spot on the overall iPad Top-100 paid chart.

March 2012- The company partners with Byron Barton to create a series of beginner, transportation-themed omBooks.

September 2012- Oceanhouse unveils the new “Record and Share” feature in omBooks, allowing users to record a customized narration of a story and share it with family members.

September 2012- Oceanhouse Media releases a free Dr. Seuss Bookshelf app.

October 2012- Five Dr. Seuss book apps are launched for Windows 8. This marks the first time the company developed apps for PCs.

May 2013- Oceanhouse Media launches Hay House NOW on the App Store, providing customers with instant access to motivational lectures, courses, video and audio from best-selling authors such as Louise L. Hay, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Doreen Virtue and Dr. Christiane Northrup.

August 2013- The release of On Beyond Zebra! marks the final classic Dr. Seuss title adapted as a digital book app.

August 2013- Oceanhouse Media is recognized as the 114th fastest growing company in the United States by Inc. 500’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. The company was also recognized as #9 among the Top 100 Software Companies.

October 2013- Oceanhouse Media wins its first Parents’ Choice Gold Awards for the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library “Ice is Nice!” and “On Beyond Bugs!”.

November 2013- Oceanhouse Media partners with reggae icon Ziggy Marley to adapt his children’s book I Love You Too for iOS and Android devices. This marks the company’s first time partnering with a celebrity.

November 2013- Oceanhouse Media introduces a new line of Chicken Soup for the Soul apps with Angels Around Us.

Today Oceanhouse Media has more then 350 apps, with 1-3 new releases every week!

Thank you to all our customers who have supported us throughout our journey. We cannot wait to see where the adventure takes us next!


Blogger Spotlight: The iMums

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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Welcome to the Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlight with Mary of The iMums! Mary got the chance to check out Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library. Find out her favorite picks for bedtime stories and more below!

Oceanhouse Media (OM): When did you launch your website? How has it evolved since the beginning?

Mary (M): The website was launched by the Australian iMum Amanda in August 2011. Originally the site was The iMum, but soon after it launched myself (Mary, the British iMum,) Alison (The American iMum) and Grace (the Singaporean iMum joined Amanda. It originally had an Australian focus and evolved to a global perspective as we became The iMums and we now have a whole team of mums from across the globe working together.

OM: What is the mission or goal of your site?

M: To find the best apps and technology products for busy parents. We are all mums ourselves and have strict policies about what we will review- for our children’s apps we only recommend apps we would feel happy with our children using.

OM: Who is the most tech savvy person in your house?

M: That has to be my husband Victor, he’s been working in computer speech recognition for many years and is my tech “go to” person. However, he has been amazed by how much I have learned in the last few years and he will even come to me now with iPad related questions.

OM: What children’s book do you really want to see on the App Store that isn’t currently available?

M: I’d love to see The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, my kids just love her books.

OM: Which app can you not live without?

M: Maps- I’ve lived in the USA for a long time but still get lost easily! Having the ability to always be able to look up where I am and how to get to my destination is a lifesaver.

OM: Which essential back to school app do you recommend for parents?

M: Lifetopix- a great app to help you to stay organized with all the activities going on in the school year– it keeps your calendar, to-do lists, shopping lists and more together.

OM: Which one for kids?

M: This is really hard as there are so many great educational apps out there The iMums recently compiled a list of our top 24 Back to school apps for different ages. One series I use a lot are the Squeebles- my son is currently using Squeebles Times Tables 2 to practice his multiplication skills.

OM: What book (non-children’s) are you reading right now?

M: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

OM: What is the favorite bedtime story at your house right now?

M: My oldest son is enjoying Hardy Boy Mysteries, and for my twins always love Dr. Seuss – “What was I Scared of?” is popular at the moment.

OM: Which dinosaur from the Cat in the Hat’s Super Dino Museum would you want to see come back to life?

M: The Brachiosaurus- he seems like a big, gentle giant much better than a fierce T.Rex!

OM: If you could be an archaeologist in the field for a day, which civilization would you go study?

M: Prehistoric Ireland – I’d love to find out more about the people who built Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland– it dates back over 3,000 years making it older than Stonehenge or the pyramids but we still don’t really know what it was used for.

Big thanks to Mary and all the ladies at the iMums for participating in our Blogger Spotlight!

Other Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlights:
Anne and Jayne of Teachers with Apps
Melissa Northway
Christie Dwyer of The Appy Ladies
Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime
Shannon Des Roches of Squidalicious


Blogger Spotlight: Digital Storytime

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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Welcome to the next edition of the Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlight! Today the spotlight’s on our friend Carisa Kluver from Digital Storytime, who got the opportunity to check out There’s a Map on My Lap!: All About Maps from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library Series. See what she has to say about her favorite app as a mom and more below!

Oceanhouse Media (OM): When did you launch your website? How has it evolved since the beginning?

Carisa Kluver (CK): My husband Marc and I launched Digital-Storytime.com in the Fall of 2010. My blog launched in February of 2011 and we founded EdApps4Sale.com (our free app site) in 2012. I had been assisting my husband, an app developer, with marketing efforts for a smartphone app he developed in 2009 for Android. The experience was eye-opening.

Everything was a bit chaotic online when searching for kids apps, and I was surprised at the quality of the reviews (or lack thereof). I didn’t find many sites that were providing app reviews worthy of the picture book genre, in particular. Having worked for years with young families as a social worker and being the mother of a preschooler, I was alarmed at some of the content I came across aimed at kids.

I also found a lot of promotional and advertorial content on review sites, which concerned me as a parent and former educator. How were teachers and librarians going to find and recommend quality digital books without a trustworthy online resource, I wondered? And then it occurred to me that I was in as good a position as anyone else to take on the challenge.

The Digital-Storytime.com site has evolved over the past three years quite a bit, adding a deal page that automatically lists price drops and category listings for different subjects. We have also changed the look of our sites a couple times, including hiring a graphic designer to help us personalize things a bit more. Because we have a custom website, built into a database structure (and in-house IT support), we can do a lot of things other review sites and websites can’t do, like scan for accurate prices 4x/day and even reproduce our content almost instantly for book app formats like Google-Play, Kindle Fire & Nook Color.

OM: What is the mission or goal of your site?

My goal when I began the site was to provide a user friendly source of quality, thorough reviews of enhanced picture book apps. I wanted it to feel like a digital book store in some ways, with a quality, curated selection. So many wonderful kids app review sites are out there promoting great games and educational apps, but the focus on reading makes our site unique. It also allows me to review a lot more of the depth and breadth in the book category.

A secondary goal of my site was to influence the industry in a positive way by providing developers with insight into what parents and kids want (and need) in book apps. My blog, The Digital Media Diet, has given me a wonderful platform to share best practices and my thoughts on the evolving marketplace. I feel very honored that so many people read it everyday.

OM: Which app can you – as a mom – not live without?

CK: I don’t use a lot of ‘adult’ apps, since I’m constantly vetting new storybooks most of the time, but I really love the Epicurious app and most days I have my iPhone plugged into our stereo with The Mountain (103.7) app – my favorite radio station from Seattle (especially nice since I moved back to California).

I also count on the Dr. Seuss & Oceanhouse Media Bookshelf apps almost every night – with all the books so easy to access in one place, it’s often the first place we start when looking for a good bedtime read. We also read print books most nights, but my little boy really likes to start off with Dr. Seuss.

OM: What is the most popular bedtime story at your house right now?

CK: Hands down, Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book – it has been our favorite in print and digital for over a year now. We also read The Kissing Hand a lot. My little boy kisses my hand nearly every day when I drop him off at school, in fact. I know he won’t do this forever, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts.

OM: Who is your son’s favorite storybook hero?

CK: Right now my kiddo is obsessed with Big Nate … not sure if he qualifies as a ‘hero’ though. He also loves the Magic Treehouse and Magic School Bus series (might be something about ‘magic’). My son doesn’t really like traditional superhero’s (we don’t have a TV or watch many movies, so he hasn’t been exposed to a lot of mainstream media), but he’s really into physics and time travel, so I’m reading “A Wrinkle in Time” to him aloud by chapters, each night (after the required Dr. Seuss book app first, of course).

OM: Who is the most tech savvy person in your house?

CK: Absolutely, without question, my husband – Marc Kluver. He designed and built my website from scratch and solves most of my technical problems (sometimes I have to beg, but he’s MY hero). He’s really Digital-Storytime’s secret weapon. ;-)

I share many app reviews with him before publishing, too, so he can help me accurately weigh in on the technical issues I find when testing book apps. He is self-taught and started with Assembly language at the age of nine. I’m sure my son will someday be as savvy, but for now, Marc holds the title.

OM: Who is your all-time favorite Dr. Seuss character?

CK: I’m pretty fond of the Lorax and Horton, but those Sneetches are truly amazing – star-bellied or plain-bellied. They just have such a great lesson to share.

OM: How many states in the U.S. have you visited? Which state is on the top of your to-visit list?

CK: I think I’ve been to most of them, actually – at least in the airports. I used to travel a lot for work when I did trainings for health education teachers. Now I am doing something similar, by collaborating with librarians nationally. I have lived in Alaska even.

I don’t think I’ve been to Maine … but really, I’d love to rent an RV for a year and just travel to all the lower 48 again with my son. I love history and learning about things in the actual place where they happened is such an amazing experience. When I was a kid, I used to beg my grandmother in North Carolina to take me to all the civil war battlefields and lots of old cemeteries. She thought I was a bit ghoulish, but I was always an anthropologist at heart.

OM: If you had a time-travel treasure map that could take you back in time, which ancient civilization would you visit?

CK: What a great question! I would love to go back to the time of the Enlightenment and Renaissance, although it would be hard on me to be ignored just because I was a woman. I might get myself into some trouble there, I’m afraid. I think we live in a time that is nearly as exceptional, though – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thank you very much to Carisa for participating in our Blogger Spotlight! We have more on the way- stay tuned!


Two Oceanhouse Media Apps Win Parents’ Choice Gold Awards

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

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We are excited to announce that we have been selected for two 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, for “Ice is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles” and “On Beyond Bugs!: All About Insects”! The Gold Award is the highest honor awarded by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, and we are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award.

“Ice is Nice!” and “On Beyond Bugs!” are both a part of the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, a series that introduces children to basic science concepts including dinosaurs, maps, marine life, outer space and much more. The apps feature animated objects, instant glossary terms, and interactive diagrams to reinforce specific subjects, all led by classic Dr.

Seuss characters including the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and even the fish! The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library apps are meticulously designed to promote learning and encourage curiosity in young readers.

“Ice is Nice” invites readers  on an icy cold expedition to the North and South Poles! Children can mingle with native animals like reindeer, polar bears, and penguins and learn about concepts such as how the Earth’s orbit around the sun affects seasons. The Parents’ Choice Gold Award adds to a list of merits for this app, including an Editor’s Choice Award from the Children’s Technology Review.

“On Beyond Bugs!: All About Insects” teaches children everything there is to know about insects, from butterflies and crickets to fireflies and honeybees, exploring how they see, smell, communicate, and pollinate.

Eight other titles currently join “Ice is Nice” and “On Beyond Bugs!” in the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series in the App Store, with many more exciting subjects on the way!

Special thanks to everyone who was a part of the production of these award-winning apps, including Random House, Dr. Suess Enterprises, and the Oceanhouse Media team!


Digital Literacy: Record and Share Feature Helps Dual Language Learners Build Early Reading Skills

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Co-reading with your young child creates lasting memories and is a special bonding experience. Together, you can help prepare them for school and introduce new ideas and topics. For dual language learners and their families, however, access to good quality stories and informational books can be a challenge Oceanhouse Media recently learned of a family literacy program in Maine that is exploring some new solutions.

 

Comienza en Casa| It Starts at Home was created by Mano en Mano | Hand in Hand to serve the unique needs of migrant farmworker students and parents who are enrolled in the Maine Migrant Education Program. The program works together with families of preschool and kindergarten children who primarily speak little or no English in the home. They have discovered that using our record and share feature, with the help of a skilled bi-lingual volunteer, the families are able to enjoy hearing digital stories in their home language, helping children build early literacy skills and school readiness.

 

Monthly meetings are held at the local elementary school.  The program’s educators and the local kindergarten teacher discuss early learning topics and goals with families, and engage in a variety of hands-on educational activities. This is an opportunity for many families to participate in learning modules involving technology use as well as traditional early learning activities and enjoy resources that they may not otherwise have access to in their home environment. Topics such as the importance of speaking in the home language, using rich language and “digital media diet”/balance are also discussed. After the meeting, families are loaned iPads loaded with apps to take home and use with their children, as well as provided with a variety of activities that encourage families to read, play, and create together.

 

Digital reading plays an important part in the program. All of the apps have been carefully screened by educators for age-appropriateness and to align with the early literacy and learning goals for each module. Originally, the program provided and discussed written Spanish translations with families for a number of Oceanhouse Media digital book apps. With the addition of the record and share feature, it is now possible to translate and make an audio recording available in Spanish (or any other language), email the file, then open it on the iPad in the app, so that it is available as a narration choice. While the text is still in English, the children and families can hear and better understand what the story is about.

Red Fox at Hickory Lane is one of several Oceanhouse Media digital book apps that include the record and share feature.

The program’s website quotes one parent as saying “The translations were useful because we don’t understand all of the words in English so first in Spanish, then in English you get the idea of what it’s trying to say.” Bonnie Blagojevic, an early childhood educational consultant for the program, really appreciated parent feedback about the importance of having the audio narration available in Spanish, making it possible to really listen to the book with their child and discuss important concepts.

 

Two weeks after the initial meeting, Ana Blagojevic, Migrant Education Coordinator at Mano en Mano, visits families in their homes to discuss how the various activities, some on the iPad, and other traditional early learning activities that might take place inside or outside the home, have helped their child learn educational goals for the month. It’s at these one-on-one meetings that Ana works together with parents to create an action plan for their child based on what the parent feels is a priority for his or her child to learn and focus on during the remaining two weeks.

 

The program is always looking for digital book apps that will allow families to experience vivid storytelling that’s filled with great content and social/emotional value. While original use of Oceanhouse Media digital books apps involved sharing written translations for stories such as A Frog ThingLadybug at Orchard Avenue, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin and Leo the Lightning Bug, with the record and share feature it is now possible to hear the narration in Spanish of Red Fox at Hickory Lane. Parents of several of the children in the program shared that their children really enjoy animals and appreciated the opportunity to be able to listen and learn about foxes in Spanish.

 

“For families with young children that speak Spanish and/or other languages at home, there’s a limited number of apps offering really strong stories and the chance to build knowledge/understand concepts,” says Bonnie. “The record and share feature in Oceanhouse Media’s digital book apps is a wonderful example of quality resources that make apps accessible to dual language learners so that parents and children can learn together.”

 


Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

And he took off his hat – and it didn’t do any good. Another hat sat on Bartholomew’s head.”

- The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s second published book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Oceanhouse Media is joining the year-long “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” celebration with the release of the digital version, launched on the same day as Random House Children’s Books’ newly re-colored 75th anniversary hardcover edition.

In the story, King Derwin of Didd demands “hats off to the King” when he passes by his citizens. But poor young Bartholomew Cubbins has a problem. Every time he removes his hat, another hat appears atop his head! The interactive book app includes our newest “Record and Share” feature so you can record yourself reading young Bartholomew’s humorous attempts to remove his hat to honor his king.

Did you know Dr. Seuss was an avid hat collector? Ever notice all the fun hats of different sizes, colors and shapes that appear throughout Dr. Seuss’s stories? Check out a few of the fun examples from our Dr. Seuss book apps below:

OM-Book500Hats-Screen0-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPadOM-BookHunchesInBunches-Screen5-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPadOM-BookCatInTheHat-Screen2-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPadOM-BookGreenEggsAndHamLITE-Screen3-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPadOM-BookMrBrownCanMoo-Screen3-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPadOM-BookICanRead-Screen4-w200L-(255,255,255)-iPad

So, let’s tip our hat to the great Dr. Seuss and kick off 2013 with a hat-ful of fun!

Do you have a fun hat story inspired by Dr. Seuss to share with us? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment below or email us at info@oceanhousemedia.com.

 


Introducing Dr. Seuss Bookshelf!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Many of you have asked for an easier way to organize your Dr. Seuss apps and today we’ve released an exciting solution, Dr. Seuss Bookshelf! (Stay tuned for OM Bookshelf!)

With the Dr. Seuss Bookshelf you can organize, browse, or launch any Dr. Seuss omBook, game or camera app that is located on your device. You’ll be able to easily locate stories for bedtime, plus, learn about new Dr. Seuss apps, sales and FREE apps in real time.

With over 45 Dr. Seuss apps on the App Store, this bookshelf has been a long time coming. We hope you find it useful and enjoyable!

Dr. Seuss Bookshelf contains:

The Store
-Browse all Dr. Seuss apps and find new releases!
-Sort Dr. Seuss apps by type, price or age
-Use the search feature to find exactly what you’re looking for

My Apps
-View all Dr. Seuss apps that are currently on your device
-Launch your Dr. Seuss apps directly from this shelf
-Rearrange their order (iPad only)

Featured (iPad only)
-See NEW RELEASES – take advantage of introductory pricing!
-Know when omBooks are ON SALE or FREE
-Discover holiday and special occasion omBooks

Favorites (iPad only)
-Add frequently used Dr. Seuss apps here to make them a Favorite
-Rearrange favorites in any order

Watch the Demo Video!:

NOTE: Dr. Seuss Bookshelf is only available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.