Mobile technology is changing the face of education as we know it– from educational apps to iPads in the classroom. Although there is a widespread agreement in the academic industry that these devices are important, there is less of a consensus regarding the age at which educators should start introducing children to this technology. On top of determining when the appropriate time is, how to go about the introduction is also uncertain.
For instructors in Generation X, this conflict becomes even more complex, because many teachers may not be as well acquainted with modern technology themselves. As an instructor, even if you don’t know the apps like the back of your hand, there are additional courses out there to assist you when teaching specialized subjects and apply them to the classroom in the most effective way possible. Here are a few tips to ensure a successful start.
1. Incorporate More Mobile Technology into the Lesson
The simplest and perhaps most obvious way teachers can familiarize students with trends in mobile technology is by regularly presenting them with opportunities to use this technology to enhance learning. It’s important to avoid overwhelming young students with an abundance of complex devices, since this can very easily discourage them from embracing this medium. Instead, slowly incorporate fun apps and other learning tools available on tablets, smartphones and mp3 players to get students used to interacting with these devices, while simultaneously using the traditional learning tools they are comfortable with.
2. Use Kid-Friendly Apps
There are literally thousands of educational apps for instructors to choose from to enhance the learning experience, but not all of them are appropriate for students in a younger age group. A mother and blogger from “MomsWithApps” recently surveyed several elementary school teachers about which apps were best for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. One of the suggestions she received was downloading apps that focus on making reading more engaging through platforms like audiobooks and apps that allow children to interact with pictures in children’s books. There are also apps for language skills, math concepts, educational music apps like DoReMemory, and flashcard apps to ensure information retention.
3. Create a Sensational Learning Experience
One of the greatest benefits of mobile technology is that it can engage children by stimulating multiple senses, including sight, sound, and even touch. For educators who may not have the school budget to give every single student his or her own iPod or iPad, this goal can still be accomplished by simply bringing in your own mobile device and playing music or audiobooks during class to give students a whole new way to process information. More intricate devices like iPads can even allow young students to Skype other students from across the globe and play educational games for a more exciting learning experience.
Many young children likely come from homes where mobile technology is common, and may even have personal experience operating these devices. However, there’s a good chance that elementary school students have only utilized these tools for fun, without realizing how they can be used to benefit education. By teaching them early how mobile technology can be used to learn and discover, instructors can expose children to the extensive power of these devices that they’ll take with them throughout their educational careers.