The app invasion sweeping education is crazy and the benefits for student learning are staggering. However, there are several myths that need to be dispelled about apps in education. If we continue to let these myths be thought of as fact then we will not only waste some of the greatest changes in educational history but we will hurt the future of our students.
I would rather my child use education apps than play video games.
At first, this statement sounds rather good. But after thinking about it, this is all wrong. A good educational app should feel like a video game. Video games are OK to play and should have an educational component. I agree that there is a LOT of video games out there that are not worth the time. But in terms of educational apps, there are a host of great games that teach a lot. For example, there is a bridge building game that teaches about engineering. The game Words with Friends is excellent for vocabulary development. The game 2058 is a great game to explain multiplication. There are a lot of great video games that are teaching our children as they are having fun. The term we use is Gamification and it is a great way to engage kids to learn.
Using apps on a tablet will help my child become a 21st century learner
This is a great statement in theory. Students need to be using the latest technology because it is only getting more advanced by the day. The problem is not as much with the statement itself as it is how people perceive the statement. If you put your child on a tablet for 30-40 minutes a day and walk away, your child is not going to be 21st century ready. What you did was buy a tablet to get free babysitting service not to prepare your child for the 21st century. The hardware for technology is only a piece of the puzzle. What they are playing and how you are integrating what they are learning into their lives is how you create a child ready for the 21st century. Have them create a stop motion film. Set them up with a safe collaboration site where they can talk with students from a different country. Have them create a 3D figure and sent it away to be printed on a 3D printer. Those are the experiences students need on a tablet, not flash cards and word problems.
For everything a child uses in the world of technology, I would suggest that you put it to my test.
Technology should be used to give students an experience or insight that they would otherwise not be able to accomplish without the use of technology.
Check what your child is doing on the tablet or computer. If you can be doing it with your child face to face you need to do that. Flash cards, vocabulary, spelling are all things that you need to be doing face to face. If not then you are just using the technology as a babysitter.
Use the technology to broaden the child’s mind, to give them experience that you cannot reproduce in your home or back yard. When you can watch your child create something, building something collaborate on something or explain something that could never have been done without the technology you provided, that is when you will know that you are raising a 21st century child.
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