Defining an App

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Three students at a large table looking at an iPad

Image courtesy of Ms. Erin Stanfill, Burley Elementary School

Children’s Technology Review Editor Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D. explains how to define an app and how this definition varies by the audience in the post “What (exactly) is an App?”  To give a more holistic view of an app, he encourages us to “take an anthropological point of view of  ‘the app,'” and to “start the exercise by first viewing each app as a human artifact, sort of like a clay pot, a hammer or the foundation of a building, and then exploring the culture behind the app.”  To do this effectively, he suggests that we use a Venn diagram to thoroughly analyze each cultural cluster.

Warren then gives perceptions of different audiences invested in children’s apps design, such as educators, the toy industry and the children’s book industry.  He concludes by stating, “We have to settle with the idea that there is no clean answer, and the app store categories like ‘game’ and ‘education’ will never be accurate. But you can get closer to understanding the topic if you look at a lot of different types of apps, and think about the culture that has informed their design process.”

Read more about What (exactly) is an App? from Children’s Technology Review

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