What Apps should we get?
We live in an ever increasing technological world and learning has seen a huge shift from rote learning to experiential learning. Technology is commonplace in today and we consistently now see babies/toddlers using Mum or Dad’s phone in the stroller. We have adjusted to this world of visual and aural stimulation. Lisa and I are regularly asked for advice on which apps parents should purchase to stimulate their child’s learning. While they can provide enjoyment and amusement, apps can also be educational tools to help your child build skills and compensate for weaknesses.
It is imperative that due diligence is conducted in trialling apps for your child. It is equally important that we consider how the app will be used: is it to be a time saver; a child minder or an engager to promote language and understanding for our children?
Here are some things to consider as you look for apps that can help with language, learning and attention issues.
What’s the purpose of the game? Why is your child playing the game or using the app?
What’s the context? Consider how the games and apps you’re looking for support other aspects of what your child is learning. What skills does your child already have? Will the game allow your child to practice or build on those skills?
How challenging is the game? Educational games can be a fun way to practice problem-solving and other skills. The ideal games will be challenging enough to keep him/her from boredom but not so challenging that frustration leads him/her to give up.
Good educational apps and games gradually expect more of your child as the game progresses or new levels are reached. They also allow your child to be in control of the learning experience by featuring open-ended questions and providing an opportunity to explore.
Time? Always consider how much time is appropriate for your child to be engaged with technology. It is vital that our children are skilled to become competent in their verbal, written and social communication as well as their technology skills. Increasingly, research suggests that time spent on technology should be limited!
But remember, particularly for our youngest children, apps in isolation do NOT develop communication skills! The use of devices and apps can create another opportunity to develop communication and interaction skills BUT it is only when you, as a parent are engaged with your child, whilst they use the device this can occur!