Title: Discovr by Filter Squad
Platform: iOS 7.0 or later on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (optimized for iPhone 5)
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been busy spreading the word about one of my library’s Teen Read Week programs, Express to Speak. The workshop is the culminating event of our second annual writing contest and will focus on hip hop and spoken-word poetry. With Teen Read Week and hip hop on the mind, I was inspired to “Seek the Unknown” through Discovr, an app created for music exploration.
There are a few different apps on the market designed to introduce listeners to a variety of artists (e.g. Spotify, Pandora, etc.), but Discovr offers something unique–interactive Music Maps that draw connections between similar musicians. Start the process by searching for a musician, and the app will create a map with new bands. If you wish to expand your options, tap a musician and watch the map grow. Continue reading
Title: Sing! Karaoke by Smule
Cost: Free (additional credits must be purchased or earned for some songs)
Platform: iOS 5.0 or later on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; Android 4.0 and up.
So you may not be an American Idol or the Voice, but who doesn’t like a little friendly, musical competition? Sing! gives smartphone and tablet users the opportunity to compete karaoke style from anywhere. Sing the words on the screen, and earn points for rhythmic and vocal accuracy. If you are especially proud of (or amused by) your performance, you can share the recording with other Sing! users and watch it climb the “Hot Performances” list. There is an additional option to share your talent via facebook, twitter, and other social media sites, or if you’re feeling a bit shy, you can keep your performance private. Continue reading
Title: iPoe – the Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection by Play Creatividad
Platform: iOS 4.3 or later on iPhone and iPad
Mr. Edgar Allan Poe just celebrated his 204th birthday last month (Jan 19). Even though his writing is almost two centuries old, teen patrons still check out Poe’s macabre stories for required and leisure reading. There is something about Poe’s language that makes me want to either draw a picture or share the text out loud (“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…”). Apparently, I’m not alone; I was thrilled to learn about the iPoe interactive app from a fellow techie earlier this month. Full of creepy illustrations, sounds, and interactive components, this five-star app digitizes Poe’s most famous tales for a modern audience. Continue reading
Title: ARSoccer – Augmented Reality Soccer Game by Laan Labs
Platform: iOS 4.0 or later.
As I sat down to write this post, I reflected quite a bit on what 2013 will bring to the app market. Teens will of course continue to be interested in apps designed to kill time and connect with their peers, but augmented reality apps may be one of the most interesting and fastest growing trends. ”Augmented reality” is a view of the real world modified by some technology enhancement. AR augments our physical experience with music, data, video, and other media.
Research cited by the FierceDeveloper blog estimates that AR sales may reach $5.2 billion by 2017. Many of these apps will be marketed to teen audiences. The same post mentions a great example; the new Taylor Swift AR app allows fans to scan an image of her latest album to launch videos or hear background information about songs. Last week, Linda posted about Dimensions–another app that augments reality. Other AR apps blend the real world with fun games. ARSoccer, the App of the Week, falls into this category. Continue reading
Title: Songkick Concerts by Songkick
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later); Android 2.2 and up
Many people enjoy listening to music on their mobile devices, but this app brings the listener to the music. Songkick Concerts helps users keep track of upcoming concerts by location and artist, organizing shows on a concert calendar for easy reference.
Getting started is simple. After downloading the app, Songkick browses your device’s music library to identify the artists you listen to. Using your location and music list, the app creates a list of upcoming tour dates. You can also manually add artists or cities. Taking a trip to Boston? Add Boston and check for shows that will fit your itinerary. You can also sync your account to Facebook. This will allow you to view tour information for bands you “like” and share concerts with friends. Continue reading
Title: Cloth by Clothes Minded
Cost: Free ($.99 for the Cloth Weather upgrade)
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation) and iPad Wi-Fi + 4G. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.
The new school year is quickly approaching, and the first day of school is an excellent opportunity to make a fresh fashion statement. This week’s app, Cloth by Clothes Minded, will help teens archive images of their favorite outfits for later reference. Feeling uninspired on a rainy morning? Simply click on Cloth to remember some of your closet’s best combinations.
After downloading the app, Cloth walks you through all the features with a simple tutorial. However, this app was easy to use even if you decide to skip the intro and go straight to the wardrobe. Click “Snap” to take a photo or load one from your phone’s library. Continue reading
Title: Flashcardlet (also called Flashcards* in the App Store)
Cost: Free or $2.99 for no advertisements
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Finals and AP exams are almost (or already!) here for many of the teens we serve. Top-rated study applications can help students organize their notes and prepare for end of the semester tests. This week’s app, Flashcardlet, lets teens create, share, and use study materials anywhere.
There are several flashcard apps out there, but students that need more than text to study will appreciate Flashcardlet’s features. A step beyond the traditional pen and paper flashcard, this app allows you to view images. Create your own deck or download one from Quizlet.com to study SAT vocabulary, science and math diagrams, art history, or any other subject imaginable. If you find or make a study deck that will be useful for a friend, share it by using Dropbox or email. Continue reading
Platform: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Too often innovative ideas are quashed by questions like “How will we fund that?” or “How will staff have enough time?” Inevitably, change requires a bit of sacrifice–if you are going to fund a new idea, you either have to generate more resources or take a little bit from somewhere else. Even with shifting dollars, there still might be only a small available budget. This is why I love apps! Apps often help you produce something new and interesting with only a small cost. The app I tested this week falls into the “cheap with big results” category. For only $1.99 and some patience, you can use WordFoto to generate colorful, eye-catching publicity materials. Continue reading
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad (requires iOs 3.0 or later), Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Phone 7
I like to listen to public radio on my way home from work because the DJs select from a diverse library of tunes. I cannot tell you how often I hear a new, exciting song but miss the artist’s name. Desperately clinging to a few lyrics, I hurry home and try to put my reference skills to use. Sometimes I find the song, but just as often, the song is lost forever, only a hazy melody in my head. For music lovers, this week’s app is truly magic: Shazam!
Press the button on Shazam, and the app will listen for a few seconds, matching tunes with a database. The screen pops up with the album cover, the artist’s name, and a list of other ways to interact with the song. Share it with a friend via Facebook or Twitter, read lyrics in time with the song, check reviews, browse related You Tube videos, and buy tracks from iTunes. If you pay to upgrade the app, you can also add the song to Spotify and receive recommendations for similar music. Continue reading
Title: Project 365
Cost: $0.99 (free version also available)
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad (requires iOs 4.0 or later)
Photo journaling is a fun and powerful way to document an important occasion or even a whole year. Inspired by the photography website Photojojo, the Project 365 app helps users capture one shot per day, organize the collection of images, and share the results with friends and family.
Photojojo describes Project 365 as a “big undertaking with big payoffs.” They encourage photographers to take a picture a day, and their arguments are convincing: Continue reading