Computers, video games, mobile phones, and tablets are ubiquitous in our lives and the lives of our kids. Parents want to embrace technology to facilitate their children's learning. But with so much technology available, how are parents supposed to know which tools and activities will actually help build skills?
"Every day new resources appear in our Apps stores and we're bombarded with all the 'Best of' and 'Top 10' lists. Parents should look for reviews and endorsements by reliable sources, including educational organizations, before giving their children access to any new tech resource," says Julia Fitzgerald, Sylvan Learning's Chief Marketing Officer.
To help parents make good choices with digital media, Sylvan Learning is offering seven simple guidelines for selecting new tech tools and apps:
Does it focus on active learning? Choose educational tools and activities that are interactive, rather than passive, like TV and DVDs.
What skills does it reinforce? Look for skills like eye-hand coordination, memorization, computation, dexterity, critical thinking and creativity.
Does it allow your child to practice the skill? When a program or activity says it teaches a skill, then it should provide practice with that skill and explain how the skill building is accomplished.
Does it provide feedback? Effective technology provides feedback on performance to help your child build their skills and confidence.
Is it age appropriate? Check the age and skill level to make sure they are a good match for your child's current developmental level.
Is it user-friendly? Your child should be able to understand and navigate the technology, so that it fosters engagement and enjoyment.
Does it include ads? Some free or "lite" versions of apps or programs include ads. Before your child uses the program, you can review the content first and vet the ads. You can also opt to forgo Apps that include ads.
"When used effectively, technology helps enable and empower our children's educational lives," says Fitzgerald. "The key lies in monitoring kids' electronic use. There's no substitute for parental involvement when it comes to encouraging our children to learn. Playing educational games with our kids is a great way to encourage their academic progress. Also, as parents we need to remember to model good behavior and limit our own screen time."
Published with permission from RISMedia.