Imagine the following situation: student X plays on his smartphone in class. Teacher Y notices, gets mad, grabs the phone out of the student’s hands and forbids him to further use it in class. The possible effect of the ban is that X along with the rest of the students are even more tempted to use the forbidden device, while teacher Y gets even more terrified by the monstrous threat that technology presents to the educational tradition she’s a part of.
Now imagine a different scenario. Teacher Y takes advantage of the fact that most, if not all kids, have a smartphone or a tablet and decides to use the mobile devices to engage the kids in the learning process. She encourages student X and the rest of the class to use their mobile devices for learning purposes – for research or to take photos or videos for certain tasks. There’s no confiscated phones, no bans, just an up-to-date cooperation with technology. If you still think this scenario is too positive to be true, check out the following list of benefits that technology in primary school might have on the educational process.
Additional means of research
Wikipedia and Google will not replace the encyclopedias in the school library. However, when it comes to more general and not-too-scientific topics, internet research might turn out to be of great help to the teacher. A useful tip for handling kids which are tempted to use their smartphones in class is to delegate them a specific task to research online for the topic of the day and then share it with the rest of the class.
Given the chance, mobile devices can support the learning process in a variety of ways, including GPS. If the teacher is more playful, they can involve the kids in an exciting treasure hunt with the help of mobile devices, such as the infamous Geocaching mobile app. Another great way to turn learning into interactive fun is the educational console games. One of the latest ones is Jumpido, an interactive game using the Kinect device, where kids do math by jumping and moving. Jumpido, as well as other similar games, prove that technology need not to be in conflict with physical movement. On the contrary, technology can well supplement traditional games in a fun way.
Nobody expects or demands that each and every kid has a tablet or a smartphone. But even if just a few of the students have a mobile device, it’s enough for the purpose of successfully implementing technology in school. The class can be split into groups, one smartphone or tablet per group. Mobile devices can be included in various tasks or homework for taking photos and videos for presenting a subject in class. Including mobile devices in the learning process will stimulate the students’ independence and will allow them to learn in a way they like.
For ages, classrooms all over the world looked pretty much the same. An authoritative person in front of the board, and a few strictly arranged rows of students, waiting to suck in precious knowledge. But times are changing. Many teachers have now chosen to arrange the students’ desks in a circle, literally and figuratively. The new values – communication, cooperation, teamwork and other “soft skills’, require a new set of methods in teaching.
Using technology in primary schools, whether it’s computers or mobile devices, transforms the learning process from teacher-centric to student-centric. Kids work according to their own tempo, without being completely dependent on the teacher’s instruction. They can rewind the instruction video on their device and the teacher can go ahead and help those students who are far behind in the task.
In that sense, educational apps are a great instrument to add to the rest of the teaching methods. Educational apps are various in their essence and format – some are focused on exercising the letters and numbers, others develop more general skills or stimulate kids’ creative side with drawing, coloring, fairy tales.
If you would like to find an educational app that stimulates children’s imagination and helps them develop precious skills and gain important knowledge, feel free to download “Who Lit the Moon?” from Apple Store and Google Play.