We are the Jetsons. Our children are growing up in a world where their toys obey them and their parents converse with the family car… When it comes to understanding the impact of digital media and harnessing their potential so that they can benefit all children, we are more often like the Flintstones.” Rima Shore, Ph.D. Pow! Wham! Children, Digital Media & Our Nation’s Future, Three Challenges for the Coming Decade

While field-testing several apps this week, I was reminded that staying on top is an arduous task for almost all developers. For two years, I have been following the New & Noteworthy, What’s Hot and Staff Favorites in the app store. It’s a head scratcher, I’ve often wondered, “What’s the criteria?” Bottom line – apps, really great apps, are expensive to develop and rely on rave reviews and word of mouth to get and stay on top. Getting an app noticed, and in the hands of consumers, can be a full time job. A good percentage of developers are still working their “day job” and doing app development on the side. That could explain why so many of the truly educational 5 star apps are not on the New and Noteworthy or in the top 25 – 100. Right after I started writing this post this article came across my twitter feed via mashable: Apple warns developers against gaming App Store rankings. Apple has never had an exact science in how they rate apps and if it is true that we have bots out there purchasing apps, even free apps, than that is really interfering with the quality of review status in the app store. Apple’s announcement is a step in the right direction.

You either need to have been high on the charts from the very beginning of app time OR continually sell, sell, sell, to stay on the radar. Latest stats indicate that over 80% of the top selling paid apps in the Education category of the iTunes Store target children. Read this new report by Julie Shuler, a senior fellow at the Cooney Center, iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category on Apple’s App Store.

Michael Levine, the founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop recently wrote Balancing Young Learners’ Media Consumption: Is There an App for That? : An excerpt: Which way is the explosion of interactive media offerings going to take us — towards more commercialization and consumption of a blizzard of new products or towards a more sensible media balance aided by some restraint, good guidance, and higher quality choices in the marketplace?

We all need to be on board with harnessing this technology so that it can be used constructively in the home as well as in the school setting. We need some kind of standards set. This budding business is the future. We need to give credit where credit is due, but as we all know, not all apps are created or marketed equally… Let’s spread the word wherever we can and get all those well-deserved apps the recognition they deserve! We’re doing our part… – TWA

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