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There’s An App For That

November 3, 2010

Every year, this is when the latest gadgets and toys come out in time for the holiday shopping madness.  As a kid, while Courtney and Kiki would shop with Mom, I would set up camp in the electronics section to check out the latest cameras, video games, and computers. I still remember waiting in line to try out the Nintendo Virtual Boy when I was ten. Today I still do the same thing. These days though, I’m not finding new opportunities to hang out with Mario & Luigi, I’m checking out Amazon or iTunes. There’s always new ways of engaging with information in dynamic and cool ways. Not that books still aren’t amazing, but I find myself reading stuff on a phone, computer screen, or e-reader that links me to new things I didn’t see or know before. The variety of way in staggering, on iTunes alone there are 300,000 different applications you can download, many for free.

I’ll admit that some of these are pure fun (I love having a lightsaber on my iPod) but there is an impact on special education. The touch screen on the iPad enables activities like interactive coin counting, finger painting, and flash cards. In recognition of this, Apple has released a custom area for the App Store titled “Special Education: Learning for Everyone.” Previously, educators would list out useful applications that they found but Apple is now taking that extra step. As a market leader, Apple is in a position to start a new trend in recognizing that their innovations in communication and entertainment have positive implications beyond wowing kids during the holidays.

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