The last day of my children’s book writing class we did a show-and-tell of our favorite children’s books. Instead of bringing a book, I brought in an iPad and showed Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat In The Hat” app from Oceanhouse Media. The comments I got from my classmates (among them many parents and teachers) were mixed. Some liked the extra features of the app that can only be done in a digital medium. They liked for example that a kid could click on the fish on the screen and have the word “fish” pop up. Some disliked them. They found for example the voice of the actor/narrator unfit or distracting.
If one looks at the industry news for book publishing it is clear that digital publishing is making huge strides as e-readers improve. What should we expect digital storytelling to turn into in the future?
I believe with more experience, application developers will learn what works with kids and parents and what doesn’t. At the same time, we ‘ll also learn how to get the most out of digital storytelling, the same way we learned to get the most out of our books. Especially because I think the line between what is considered a digital book and a video game will be blurred.
I was fortunate enough to interview one of the entrepreneurs in digital storytelling, Andrew Gitt, the founder of storytimeforme.com about his vision on digital vs printed storytelling and what the advantages of each medium are for educating our children.
Andrew, tell us a bit about what your vision behind storytimeforme.com is and who your audience is.
You can check out our mission and target audience at http://storytimeforme.com/about-us.
What’s unique about your site is that even though you offer digital stories, you also do prints. What led you to the decision to do both?
We recently started the personalized activity book as we recognize teachers and parents are also looking for hands-on activities. We started off just as an online library which we plan on expanding of course. We already have over 40 books complete which we’ll slowly be releasing.
How does your technology help children learn how to read?
A child is assisted by having the text highlighted as the story progresses. However, technology really serves our higher goal. Our motto is not to teach kids to read. Honestly, that’s not what we do. What we are trying to do is make reading fun and have the national average of 4 hours of TV be replaced by more
What would you like to see the future bring for digital storytelling?
I would like to have hundreds of books with many publishers and authors with a lot of variety and be a place where kids can ‘plop’ in a safe environment and read instead of watching TV. That’s our goal at storytimeforme.com at least. Also I would love to see stories offered into other languages. It’s one of our future goals as well.
I hope we learned something useful today,