Archive - January 2015

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Educational apps at school – can they work?
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6 pros and cons of learning with digital devices

Educational apps at school – can they work?

group elementary school students in computer class

In the previous post we’ve talked about the pros and cons of using technology in education at home. Today I would like to elaborate a bit on a more specific aspect of technology – educational apps at school.

The current generation feels very secure in the digital world, so using technological tools like apps at school does not frighten them as much as it tends to frighten teachers. According to the research conducted by BESA three-quarters of all respondents suggest that pupils have at least some interest in educational apps, while over 40% say there is a lot of interest in tablets, with almost no teacher suggesting there is no pupil interest. Even though implementing technology in education is challenging for both students and teachers, both the groups can benefit from using it as it creates entirely new opportunities.

As I have mentioned the younger generation, sometimes called digital natives, feels more comfortable in technological environment. In case of teachers this process  may take a little longer, but the advantages are definitely worth the efforts. 

How can educational apps empower teachers?

Many teachers decide to implement educational apps in their classrooms as they realize it can make their class more engaging and interesting for the students. How? Thanks to variety of apps teachers are able to use them for almost every subject: Maths, foreign languages, Science etc., as they provide different methods of presenting the information: quizzes, videos, educational games and many more. However, it is important to look for quality apps and set the objectives before implementing educational apps in the classroom, so that the time spent with apps at school will be organized and will bring desired results.

Apart from that, some apps have been designed exclusively to help teachers in their lesson plans: you will find apps that help organize and plan the lesson, enable the teacher to send notifications to parents, check the attendance or monitor students’ progress.

Constraints

Even though teachers are aware of advantages of implementing apps at school, they also notice certain constraints.

4 main barriers to adoption of tablet in classroom according to the teachers are:

  • funding/budget allocation

  • installing and paying for apps 

  • management and security 

  • training and support – the usage of apps reqires training both for the teachers and students

Girls drawing

 

How can students benefit from educational apps?

First of all educational apps allow for personalized studying. For example, apps with an option of making interactive video lessons give an opportunity for the student to learn at their own pace and replay the lesson as many times as needed.

Additionally, thanks to the updated content students can use the latest methods and information as well as strengthen learning through interactive online tools, processing the information much faster as a result. Students who use educational apps can also collaborate with other students comparing the results, which can strengthen their communication skills.

Again, like in case of learning at home with devices, distractions are a significant threat of using apps at school. Instead of focusing on the material, students may download music, browse social networking sites, watch videos etc.

 Conclusion

With the usage of good quality apps and proper organization students and teachers can benefit and achieve great results. One of the sites where teachers can find student- and teacher-friendly apps and recommendations is Teachers with apps – a site dedicated to the topic of educational apps.

 

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Magdalena| Appetite For Education

P.S. If you are interested in more information on applications or you are looking for one for your child, subscribe to our newsletter to read more interesting articles in the future!

 

 

6 pros and cons of learning with digital devices

 

Nowadays many parents face a dilemma when it comes to their kids’ education. They don’t know whether they should take advantage of the fast developing technology or encourage their kids to use conventional ways of studying like they used to in the past. They wonder if digital devices really improve children’s skills or they are another step towards addiction to technology. Which aspects of educational technology will make you look favorably at digital devices and which should raise your concern? Take a look at the list below.

The arguments in favor of using non-conventional methods of studying:

 1. Attractive and easy interface. This fact can convince parents with children who have cognitive disabilities e.g. autistic children. According to the study conducted by IMFAR apps have a positive affect on communication skills of kids with autism.

2. Development of many skills. One device enables your child to practice all kind of skills: it trains their memory, mathematical skills, reading skills,  improves their vocabulary or makes learning a foreign language easier. Moreover, the level can be customized and adapted to your child’s abilities.

3. Weight and portability. You can take it almost anywhere, giving your child an easy access to learn in almost every place.

4. Lower environmental impact comparing to books. This argument will be convincing especially to people who opt for environmentally friendly ideas.

5. The price. While an average price for a children title is 17.99$  (info from 2014), the average app costs 2.56$.

6. Access to a lot of information. Digital devices give children an opportunity to find plenty of information and resources that at times are not available in a paper form.

 

The drawbacks of learning via digital devices:

1. Many distractions. While studying with a digital device, it is easy to switch to non-educational programs: games, social networking sites etc. This is a distraction that heavily impacts on children’s concetration level.

2. Bad influence on eyesight. If overused, digital devices can worsen your child’s eyesight.

3. Adult supervision required. In case of small kids devices should be used under supervision of adults. You don’t want your toddler to bite into your smartphone or tablet 🙂

4. The safety concern. One of the biggest concerns of adults regards safety of digital devices, especially apps. You can read more about the dangers of kids apps here.

5. The price. Even though it has been listed as a pro and applications are far cheaper than books, the price of a digital device itself could be also seen as a drawback.

6. Passive time. Since children already spend a lot of time watching TV, surfing the Internet or watching movies, additional time with digital devices can discourage your child from spending their free time in a more active way.

All in all, combined with conventional ways of learning, digital devices can be a powerful tool to boost your child’s skills as it gives them new possibilities that previous generations did not have.

 

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Magdalena| Appetite For Education

P.S. If you are interested in more information on applications or you are looking for one for your child, subscribe to our newsletter to read more interesting articles in the future!

 

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