Children catch on to technology easily. A study by Common Sense Media showed that nearly 75 percent of the children under eight in the U.S. have access to and have used a smart phone or tablet. With such a versatile tool in their hands, turning it into an educational device becomes natural. These suggestions will get you thinking about how to use the power of your mobile devices to augment your child’s education.
Better Learning is the Proof
Teenage Research Unlimited surveyed middle school children about their use of mobile devices in and out of the classroom. They discovered that almost 30 percent of these students used tablets and smartphones to study or complete their homework. Most evident was the increase in understanding of math and science topics.
Effectively Using a Mobile Device With Your Child
Like most children, yours may have had their first exposure to a tablet or smart phone as an entertainment device. Use that to your advantage by finding apps and websites that present learning in a fun and challenging way. Set aside time for your children to focus on the educational aspect of the device, then reward them with games, videos and other fun ways to spend their time.
Service providers are making it more economical to use mobile devices for education purposes as well. Whereas families on the go used to be limited to Wi-Fi to get access to the Internet, expanded and free mobile data plans now enable your children to work with various apps and websites without negatively impacting your budget. They can be online for as long as it takes to understand a topic or work on an exercise.
There are a number of apps and websites that your child can use to study, with more showing up every day. Finding quality tools for your child can be a challenge. One option is to tap into one of the many educator-sponsored sites, such as Appo Learning. People involved with education review and rate mobile apps and websites for content, appeal and usefulness. Of course, the most critical opinion is yours, however. Review each mobile app that you are considering having your child use.
Mobile Devices as a Reference Tool
There are many apps available for your child to look up information or do research with. Merriam Webster has several dictionary apps and the National Geographic has apps for learning about the planet. Some of these include interactive elements, but many are fairly static and are good for a quick look at a specific topic.
Mobile Devices as an Interactive Tool
Other apps provide a number of ways to engage the child by having them work on puzzles, do exercises and answer questions. These methods are designed to keep the child’s attention while learning about a topic.
Word Tree 3D is a free app that teaches spelling and vocabulary in a farm setting. According to Appolearning.com, it uses apple trees to help the child form words and sentences. A reward system encourages the child to respond quicker to save as many apples as they can from rotting on the ground.
iSolveit presents math in ways that challenge the child to balance out a scale with the right equations to get a correct answer. As Appolearning.com highlights, this app is also free and offers multiple levels, each with varying levels of difficulty.
Websites for Learning
There are a number of websites that stress interactive learning on a variety of topics. Some of these have been around for years, much longer than mobile apps. They are accessible from any tablet and smart phone with an Internet browser.
All Terrain Brain engages children with videos, puzzles and problem solving to exercise their creative thinking. This free website, AllTerrainBrain.org, has the goal of tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit within children.
Math Goodies (MathGoodies.com) is an example of a website created by math educators to help children focus on particularly difficult math concepts. This free website is a good resource for the child preparing for a math exam and unsure about specific topics.