Seeing is believing. The possibilities make my head spin.

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


7 Thoughts on "iPhone + Book = PhoneBook"

Presumably once Apple’s tablet is launched, one won’t need the ‘book’ part of that equation…

Child sitting on father’s lap, music in the background, gold wedding ring shining, all makes my heart warm to this possibility … until I start using my brain.

Would I really want my 2-year old, who is currently prone to tantrums and throwing books across the room, to play with my iPhone? Evidently, the father in the video doesn’t either and you’ll notice that he keeps his hands on the book the whole time, guiding what his young son can do. Is this teaching independence or dependence to parent-as-teacher?

While our 6-year old is becoming a proficient reader, our 2-year old will open a book and make up stories and sings songs about the characters in very creative and imaginative ways. I don’t want to stifle this kind of self-directed learning any more than I want to give our eldest daughter an iPod instead of having her learn piano.

Now all parents want their children to grow up educated. But if we’ve learned anything from Baby Einstein, the marketing these techno-products under the guise of creating child geniuses may ultimately backfire.

Hey, my two year old plays with my iPhone all the time (try the free app “I Hear Ewe”, it’s incredibly helpful when someone asks you what sound a zebra or a rhino makes). YouTube is also the only source for pre-Elmo Sesame Street clips (before the show was overtaken by the marketing and merchandising departments) and I’d rather risk by $199 iPhone than my $2500 laptop.

The amazing thing is how quickly a 2 year old can pick up on the interface (read the linked Globe article above), I basically hand it to him and watch him work it. He tends to be too absorbed in using it to consider a throwing tantrum. Although I should note that his access to the phone is highly limited and most of the time he plays with his boring old wooden blocks or even other children.

This is a cool proof of concept, but our CTO thinks probably a fake, the way the iPhone turns on when placed in the book and the screen changes with page turns. But very cool idea to have a tangible book tie-in. Way more gift-able than a download or iTunes code. We’re making Apps for bigger boys, but digital goods, even when superior, can still struggle to make the same price-point as their physical counterparts. Pressure from iTunes is to make free or $.99 Apps, where even magazines and newspapers go for much more on the newsstand. But then, web and mobile are growing 🙂

I’m an old-fashioned kind of mom with a 2-year-old obsessed with Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh, but I can see how this could extend (rather than replace) enjoyment of traditional books. Because it’s likely to be parent-guided, the moving pictures could spark discussions–and the adult interaction is really what’s important at that age.

It’s like any technology: parents should use it in moderation, as a supplement to traditional learning methods rather than a substitute; and it should always be used side-by-side with the parents as much as possible. (That said, my iPhone has gotten us through more than one excruciating session in waiting rooms and doctor’s offices!)

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