Technology is a tool. Used properly, judiciously, it can help children learn, review, and organize information. Used indiscriminately, it could possibly hamper learning. Make technology your child’s friend with these tips.
Technology For Learning
The internet has given us all powerful search engines and access to huge databases and rich resources. Help children learn to use search engines properly by selecting specific keywords. Use the internet to “visit” museums all around the world or to look at images from space. Technology enables children to go on more field trips than they could otherwise take.
Libraries can help parents direct children to the most authoritative resources on any subject. Parents and librarians can teach kids to separate real science and trustworthy news from advertising or junk websites. Students can discover more traditional learning tools such as books, recordings, and maps, too.
Technology For Review
Drill is important for many subjects. Multiplication tables, grammar rules, and spelling words require practice, practice, practice. Technology can help add variety to review sessions through tools such as interactive games and electronic flash cards. Most children remember things better when they receive information through more than one of their senses, so use technology to offer auditory input (songs, speeches, foreign languages) as well as visual images. Hands-on learners can watch videos, then practice the skills they see demonstrated.
Struggling or shy learners may benefit from the fact that a computer or game will not lose patience. It will calmly repeat a lesson or drill as much as needed. Games also offer fast feedback so students can immediately see what they got right and wrong instead of waiting for a grade on a test.
Technology For Organization
Students who struggle with executive functions such as scheduling their work for a long-term project can benefit from organizational tools. For example, they could create a Pinterest board for history project ideas. Writing compositions and research papers with an online tool such as Google docs prevents lost papers – and the student can ask for help remotely by giving a parent or teacher access to their work stored in the cloud.
A variety of apps for tablets and other devices can help the student create mind maps, calendars, and checklists to manage their homework and extracurricular activities. The computer can also allow students to collaborate outside school hours. Group projects are more easily managed when members can meet via computer.
Technology will never replace the care and personal attention of parents and teachers in a child’s life. Reading books, playing outdoors, and creating art and music are still important. Technology must be seen as a tool for enhancing other learning activities, not a distraction or diversion. When students choose to use technology rather than passively receive it, they develop an important life skill.