Technology has leaked into all aspects of our lives, and for some young people, it’s always been that way. Generation Z kids were born with smartphones in their hands and computers on their laps, and might have a hard time imagining life without technology at the forefront.
The same applies to education, and the way children and technology should interact within it. In this article, we will talk about children and technology as well as how kids can better use technology in learning.
Technology for Kids: Examples
1. Educational Apps
In most cases, technology distracts kids while they’re trying to study. Educational apps are a way to reverse that trend. There are plenty of ed tech solutions and apps on the market that make the learning process fun and exciting. Such apps engage students and challenge them as they advance through the levels, just like in a computer game. Examples of such solutions are Google Classroom, Haiku Learning, Kahoot!, Duolingo, and more.
2. iPads and Tablets in Classrooms
Many modern classrooms are now equipped with iPads and other devices that are connected to a centralized learning management system. iPads allow for smoother communication and exchange of materials between teachers and students. This saves a considerable amount of time.
Besides, there are numerous apps with electronic quizzes, submissions, and supervision. The apps can instantly score the multiple-choice quizzes and post results. The teachers thus can see which students have submitted assignments and even get reports about when and how long the students have been working. Another benefit of learning with iPads is that the students will no longer have excuses like losing their homework, because the materials are available online at all times. The books are also available online, so instant access to them saves lots of time on writing down notes from lectures.
3. Distance Learning
Distance learning is another way to bring together kids and technology. Group and individual tutoring via Skype or Google Hangouts has become a trend during the recent years and is suitable even for preschool kids.
4. Virtual Learning Environments
One more ed tech solution that is worth attention is smart virtual learning environments that are powered by artificial intelligence. The Institute for Creative Technologies of the University of Southern California is a pioneer in creating smart virtual environments. They use AI and computer animation to develop authentic virtual characters and realistic social interactions.
5. Social Media
Many modern teachers now create Facebook groups where they post homework assignments and other important updates. In those groups, students can interact with each other and collaborate on various projects.
6. Educational Channels and Podcasts
Today there are plenty of educational channels and podcasts such as TED Talks, instructional YouTube channels and much more, that students can watch. Many of them are dedicated to technology in education.
7. Online Courses and Classes
Websites such as Coursera or Udemy offer a wide range of online courses, some of which are taught by university professors, which the students can watch at their own pace.
Technology and Kids: Drawbacks
Unfortunately, technology can also have a negative impact on the studying process, and here’s how:
Kids and teens get distracted very easily and can end up chatting with their friends on social media instead of using the latter for studying and doing their homework assignments. If students want to get better grades in high school, Twitter probably isn’t going to help them.
2. Health Issues
Constant use of gadgets can cause health problems. For example, the most known problem of smartphone addicts is “text neck”. To text on smartphones, people tend to bend their necks up to 60 degrees, thus increasing the pressure on the neck. Other problems include vision loss, wrist problems, and sleep disorders.
3. Connectivity Issues
Despite the technology era in which we are living right now, there still can be problems with the WiFi signal or mobile internet in some places. This can make modern technology unusable in certain situations. Therefore, it’s nice to have some “old school”, paper alternatives to online resources. It is also important to keep the offline backups of books, apps and podcasts at hand.
The internet is still dangerous and full of viruses, malware and phishing websites. Schools that actively use technology should be aware of possible hacker attacks and employ cyber security specialists who can offer emergency solutions. Besides, viruses such as ransomware make it impossible to access files on a laptop, so, again, do not forget about backups.
Finally, physical theft can also occur, so all parents and teachers should educate kids on the importance of keeping an eye on their personal belongings, including laptops and smartphones. And of course children using technology should never share their sensitive personal data on the web.
So should parents limit the use of technology?
Yes, but to a reasonable extent.
It is important to educate your child on dangers of the internet, including health problems and the inappropriate content that they may be exposed to. You can also try to steer their technology obsession into a useful direction and encourage them to think about getting a degree and starting a career in the technology field.
One of the ways to do so is to send your child to a summer camp that has technology related programs and classes. JKCP offers a wide range of these types of courses, such as:
- Enrichment for High School Students. In JKCP enrichment courses, students are free to choose two disciplines that they will be studying during the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The technology related classes within this course are Intro to Coding & App Development, Robotics, Video Game Revolution, 3D Modeling & Printing, Digital Music, and Engineering. The students can freely choose their subject of interest and combine the classes the way they like.
- Xploration for Middle School Students - This program is a junior version of Enrichment, which enables kids to choose the studying “track” that they like most, including the Science, Technology, and Engineering tracks.
It is also worth mentioning that all JKCP classrooms are based on the premises of cutting-edge US universities and are equipped with the latest technology, so we guarantee that the young students will enjoy the learning process.
We wish you luck in helping your kid choose a career path in technology!