A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 105: An App for Literacy

Episode Overview-

Episode #105 features a brief discussion about what to look for when evaluating storybook apps and an example of a quality storybook app.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode-

A.T.TIP 299 – Flying Books App

Flying app iTunes logoFlying Books logo (green book worm)

Download Flying Books for iOS (Free) – http://bit.ly/flyingbooks

Website – Flyingbooks.me

Twitter –  @flyingbooksapp

Facebook Page – http://facebook.com/FlyingBooks

Night Light Story available via Flying Books App-

Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way – Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us The Way Cover
Three unique friends embark on a journey of discovery which reveals their individual talents.

Free audio download (15:03): Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way

Blog with activities:                    Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way

Reg Silva’s blog post about creating the illustrations:


YouTube eBook announcement:                 

PDF of Mistakes in Various Storybook Apps-

Problematic Storybook Apps

Upcoming Presentations


Mission Possible: Proliferating a Culture of Universal Design for Learning with Beth Poss & Chris Bugaj. January 29th & 30th, 2013 at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Information-




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11 thoughts on “A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 105: An App for Literacy

  1. Pingback: Update: Diigo in Education group (weekly) | ChalkTech

  2. Patrick Black

    My only concern is that schools cannot purchase items using in-app purchases and be in compliance with VPP (or at least that is what I have been told). Does Flying Books have an option for schools to purchase the appin the VPP that includes a group of stories?

  3. Christopher Bugaj Post author

    The Flying Books app is free and wouldn’t need to be eligible for the VPP. Am I thinking of that correctly? Flying Books allows you to create books for free. Buying books from the library is optional. Do publishers of print books offer discounts for buying in bulk? If you buy 50 you get 50 free? I suppose that’s not a truly equitable comparison though since the print books have an added production cost that an e-book would not (although, the e-book from Flying Books provides narrated audio which has its own production costs that the printed book does not). So maybe it is an equitable comparison?

    1. Patrick Black

      Yes, the app is free, the problem is that you cannot buy any of the books (via the In-App purchase option) when you have a device that is on the VPP. So while you can use the app, a school would be unable to load any books into it. Other apps have had the same issue – Conversation Builder (I believe) and ArtikPix have offered special VPP versions of the apps that include all the features that typically would be bought via in-app purchases. I like the app and the purpose of it, but it would be limited for schools if they cannot get the books.

  4. Christopher Bugaj Post author

    I think I’m hearing you but why would you get a free app via the VPP? What’s the point of sending you codes to a free app? ArtikPix and Conversation Builder cost money to download. Flying Books does not and therefore, you wouldn’t get it via the VPP. Right?

    Also, are you saying when you download ANY app via the VPP it automatically locks in-app purchases for that app? What is the reasoning behind that policy? It should be up to the user (purchaser) to decide if they want the ability to lock in-app purchases or not (would be my thought).

    1. Patrick Black

      The app itself is not in the VPP, that’s correct, but in-app purchase are not part of the VPP (if you do it you get charged tax) – https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/apples4ed/zSVDwlIiTYM & http://www.apple.com/education/volume-purchase-program/faq.html

      If Flying Books offered a VPP version of the app, they could charge for the app (offer a discount even) and schools would be able to get the books as well as all the other features of the app. Because right now, if I wanted to get Dragon Fly, Dragon Fly and use it in my classroom I wouldn’t be allowed under Apple’s Rules. Does that make sense?

      1. Christopher Bugaj Post author

        Okay, I read over the VPP. As a teacher, you can still download Flying Books, use it, and buy Dragonfly, Dragonfly. The only hindrance, I think, is that there is no tax exempt status. You’d have to buy the book once and you could put it on up to 5 devices, I think. Right? It seems, depending on what they’d charge, it would be wash. Yes, you have to pay tax but you don’t have to buy the app.

  5. Patrick Black

    Yes, that would accomplish it, but would still break the rules of the VPP. I cannot even purchase anything on a school device because I don’t have the VPP account or password…so I couldn’t even do what you are suggesting. The only “legal” way around this is for the developer to offer a special VPP version that includes copies of the books.

  6. Christopher Bugaj Post author

    Are you saying that schools can only use apps that allow for VPP? That’s not how our school uses it (at least, I don’t think so anyway). Our VPP person distributes codes that we redeem under various school-created accounts. Also, you can have multiple accounts on a device. Go to Settings in the App Store, logout of the current account, and then log back in using your own personal account. This is how teachers can have apps they have personally purchased on a school-owned device (assuming it doesn’t break AUP, of course).
    Would that work?

    1. Patrick Black

      At this time, my district controls the entire install and syncing process. They don’t allow me to install anything and cannot go to the settings app and use my own personal account, but the restrictions for App Store are turned on so I couldn’t even get to the APp store and look for apps that I have purchased personally. Maybe it’s just my district, but I believe that many districts have this type of policy in place so that teachers don’t put personal apps on the devices.

  7. Christopher Bugaj Post author

    I see now. It is a district policy rather than an Apple policy that is the roadblock. Our system hasn’t officially endorsed the use of iOS devices at a district level. Individual schools might be buying and using them, but they are not “supported” by our Instructional Technology Department. On our AT team, we’ve only put them out for individual students. Something like 700 apps come out in the App store per day (http://148apps.biz/app-store-metrics/), and that’s just the apps, let alone the content within apps and updates to apps. I might be preaching to the choir here, but one of the benefits of the device is that new content comes out all the time. Maybe I’m naive or not seeing an alternative point of view, but I’d rather see institutions trust teachers to make decisions about the content than control what content they can use. Every institution has an acceptable use policy. This could be used to guide the teachers about content that could go on the devices.
    I’m certain you are correct that there are other schools that have implemented this model. I’d be curious if this model is the most pervasive or not. My hope is that a more open model is the trend instead.

    To help solve your more immediate problem (how do I get Dragonfly, Dragonfly from Flying Books to my students?), I hear a holiday is coming up where people give and receive gifts! Add “iPad” to your wish list. Then you can get it and bring it into school with Dragonfly, Dragonfly on it!


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