Top of the Class

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Polymash is proud to announce that one of its apps, Wild Dolphins, has been acknowledged as a Top of the Class app by eSpark.

The iPad app tells powerful stories through interactive media of dolphin rescues and efforts to keep them living safely in the wild.   The app, Wild Dolphins was created by a large team of committed, talented, professional people from Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute working with the team at Polymash.

ishot-167Dolphin Tale

eSpark, is committed “to transform learning so it’s personalized, best of breed, engaging, and mobile; enabling students to succeed in school and in life.”

The Top of the Class List features the best 15 apps in eSpark’s curriculum of 750 apps, and Wild Dolphins has been included because it “stands out as an exemplary model” for the following reasons:

  • It constantly receives positive feedback from the most important critics – eSpark students.
  • It meets eSpark’s learning design team’s criteria in selecting apps for its curriculum:

– Common Core Standard Alignment
– An engaging and intuitive user experience
– Bang for the buck
– Scaffolding of skills

We are particularly proud because there are more than 100,000 educational apps, books, and learning resources available on the Apple iPad platform and being selected by eSpark’s curriculum experts as they continually scour the app store looking for the most rigorous and engaging learning apps that meet their strict criteria is an acknowledgement to all who contributed to its creation.

 

Crankamacallit Breaks Into Top 20 Story Book Apps For Kids

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Effects of our Back To School Promotion

The Crankamacallit story book app for kids continues to rise rapidly in the App Store ranking!

And looking a bit more closely (click here or on the image below), one can see that there are only 4 kids apps in the top 20. So in way we’re in the top 5 for story book apps for kids. As for the rest we’re competing with apps like  iBooks, Nook, Kindle, Scholastic etc. So that’s pretty good company.

story book apps for kids

We are extremely pleased that our back to school campaign is so well received, especially as the books category is the most popular in the app store. This means competition there is fierce, and we can be proud of this ranking. I’m attaching a graphic that illustrates:

story book apps for kids in the competitive books category

Source: comboapp.com

Crankamacallit Story Book App for Kids – Campaign Details

The Crankamacallit will be FREE all day Thursday, August 30th, and will continue to be available for 60%off through Labor Day Weekend!

PR Mac Press Release: FilmOneFest iPad app is a celebration of one-minute film as an art form

Polymash Inc. today introduces the FilmOneFest app for iPad. The FilmOneFest app is a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers all around the world with supporting stories, artists’ statements and interviews. The app gives visibility and voice to film makers across the world, enabling their talent to serve and inspire others to question, experiment, explore, laugh, cry, and unite us in our common humanity in this one-minute format.

[button link=”http://prmac.com/release-id-27475.htm” type=”icon” icon=”notice”]Read the Full PR Mac Press Release[/button]

Our FilmOneFest iPad app goes live!

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We are pleased to announce that our free FilmOneFest iPad app is now available on the iTunes iPad app store.

FilmOneFest is a celebration of one-minute films as an art form, also a film festival held in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and the FilmOneFest iPad app is a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers all around the world with supporting stories, artists’ statements and interviews. To find out more:

[button link=”http://polymash.com/film-one-fest-ipad-app/” type=”icon” icon=”notice”]Visit the FilmOneFest Home Page[/button]

Press Release: Crankamacallit iPad app takes risks in interactive story telling

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Some context about risk-taking

The press release (full text here) has been met with a lot of buzz on Twitter and a number of review sites.

[button size=’small’ color=’black’ link=’http://www.polymash.com/app/the-crankamacallit-ipad-apps-for-kids/’]Visit the Crankamcallit Home Page[/button]

At Polymash we feel the Crankamacallit is interactive story-telling with a difference, and I wanted to provide a little context as to why and elaborate a bit more on the following part of the release:

This iPad app for kids takes some risks that set it apart from most children’s stories. The developer took a page out of game design by utilizing a first person perspective in interactivity, animation and illustration. Interactive elements are intentionally not highlighted nor easy to find. User testing feedback revealed kids “get it” and show their parents the functionality, not the other way around. Another risk was to use the recently released Adobe CS5.5 Digital Publishing Suite platform for a children’s book, and to extend its core functions with HTML5 and JavaScript coding. The developer participated in the alpha and beta testing for Adobe beginning in the summer of 2010, and with this app shows that the platform can be used for much more than just the digital magazines it was created for.

The buzz about iPad usability

I  come from a corporate IT background in user experience and usability engineering. And recent buzz complains about the lack of usability  standards on the iPad (based on a report by the Nielsen Norman Group, an authority in the field) Here is an example on the Huffington Post referring to this study. They point out that because of a lack of standard user interfaces for the Pad, interactive elements and the overall user experience is  not always obvious and predictable.

So, can “lack of usability standards” ever be a good thing?

iPad app for kids - crankamacallitWhile this lack may be a frustration to grown ups, our own usability studies have shown that for kids this has not been an issue.

Why? My theory is that unlike grown-ups, kid’s egos are not as involved or hurt by having to explore and hunt for functionality, and they delight in figuring it out. We’ve often witnessed grown ups pick up an iPad for the first time with a sense of trepidation and fear of not quite knowing how to use it, but kids immediately start to experiment and play. And I think as grown ups start to understand the device, they too delight in their “discoveries”.  To me, this sense of discovery creates much deeper engagement, and the many brilliant app designs unencumbered by any usability standards illustrate the magic of the iPad.

So I for one do not necessarily look forward to seeing universal iPad usability standards develop. So unlike many kid’s apps we see, for our interactive children’s story we have intentionally not been too obvious about brightly highlighting interactive regions, providing instructions or hints. Our testing with kids proved that they “get it” and are able to show functionality of the app to their parents, not the other way around.

Here’s a grown up’s (unsolicited) review on iTunes that illustrates the point:

“The first time I went through this book on my iPad I missed 90% of it and I thought, “well, this is pretty lame”. Then my 3 year old daughter got ahold of it and showed me what was possible. Even without having seen the rest of it, what I did see initially was visually stunning. The rest of it just made it worth the $5. It’s not a book of puzzles, it’s a book that tells a story (obviously), and invites you to explore the world created so cleverly by the graphic artist. Don’t leave a single stone unturned when you go through the book, or, give it to your 3 year old and sit back and be amazed. “

Happy to be listed in Adobe’s Digital Publishing Gallery

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[one_half]Anyone interested in how Ditigal Publishing for tablets is evolving should check out the Adobe Digital Publishing suite, which is the platform we have been using at Polymash for the last 1/2 year or so as alpha testers. It is now in public beta status, and is scheduled to go live sometime in Q2 of 2011.  A number of apps have been published on this platform already, and we are happy to count ourselves among them.

[box]Of course our vision is slightly beyond using such a platform for digital magazine content only: We are “repurposing” Adobe’s toolset to create interactive content for information product owners, publishers and authors who want to stand out and shine in an increasingly crowded eBook and app market. To do so we are adding  HTML5 and Javascript features to the platform, such as in-app notebooks, interactive animations and so on.[/box][/one_half]

[one_half_last]We have good company: Our app is listed  right next to Conde Nast titles created with the Adobe suite such as Martha Stewart Living and Wired Magazine, and numerous other publishers have gone live with titles such as the New Yorker, Golf Digest & Readers Digest.

So if you own an iPad, you should check out the Adobe’s full gallery of apps published with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite:

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Kirkus Reviews the Crankamacallit

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[box type=”bio”]It’s great to get a good review from “the world’s toughest book critic”![/box]

THE CRANKAMACALLIT (reviewed on August 1, 2011)
A brawny antidote to the fairy-tale adaptations and cutesy cartoon-character apps that overstuff the App Store, this ear-catchingly titled story is all about power tools and building.

[button link=”http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/mimi-cross/crankamacallit/”]Read the full Kirkus Review[/button]