As countless teachers, educators and even parents will tell you, the key to getting children to learn and retain information is engagement. And what better way to engage kids than through the tools they interact with on a daily basis.
As today’s educational resources continue to transcend from textbook to tablet, here are the reasons why embracing these digital tools will enhance the educational experience of our next generation.
Speak their language
While we’re all embracing the digital world to some degree, none are doing it more so than our kids. Generation Z is the first age cohort to have never experienced life pre-internet, and as digital natives it’s crucial we engage with them as such. Today’s classroom is a 21st century environment, so let’s stop trying to make them learn the way we did and start to teach them in a way that they will best respond and understand.
Fun and (educational) games
Digital education apps are a great way to repackage ‘boring’ educational topics into fun interactive games – the same way you may disguise the vegetables you sneak into your child’s dinner. A recent study by iPads for Learning found that 90% of students found learning on a tablet more fun, with 85% of primary school teachers agreeing that those tablet-taught students were much more motivated and engaged in their learning.
Making learning fun is great for the whole family, and the next time your children are given an iPad to amuse themselves, wouldn’t you rather they were playing a game with a side serving of knowledge than downloading the latest hit song? Educational apps provide not only a great in-school resource, but they also serve a greater purpose by allowing parents to interact with their child in a fun educational format, assisting to enhance their learning outside the classroom.
Recent data from statistics portal Statista shows that educational apps are the third most popular download category in the Apple App store, with a share of 9.95% as of March 2015. And with more than 75 billion apps now downloaded from the Apple App store - that’s a lot of downloads. It’s clear from these huge numbers that there is a real demand for this category of apps, so it’s time to embrace these to ensure you don’t get left behind.
Despite educational apps being so heavily downloaded, it would be misleading to suggest that all the apps currently available on the market are suitable. Think about who has developed the app; is it a techie with no background in education, or is it a well-meaning teacher who doesn’t know how to code and translate the topic into a digital format? At Splash, we work together with Education Services Australia to ensure our apps and games have a purpose and a right to be in the classroom. All our resources are mapped to certain levels of the curriculum to make them a useful teacher resource that works both inside and outside the classroom.
So why are these apps so great for our kids? Well the answer is simple - they make learning fun. They offer kids a way to absorb knowledge and broaden their skills in all subjects, from numeracy and technology, to history and arts. And by doing so in such an interactive way, they create a personal learning environment that the child can self-manage and enjoy. Children have not yet developed the self-discipline and attention spans that helps with learning, so these digital tools are the perfect way to embed this knowledge and ensure it is retained.
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Visit the ABC Splash website for more details: http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/home