I want to share with you, my system for getting kids to learn new information quickly and thoroughly. In my opinion parents/teachers should use apps to build a child’s confidence and reiterate educational concepts taught in the home or classroom. Educational apps are great for practice and help students enjoy learning by using more than one of their senses to drill-in the lesson.
3 core strategies for learning and how to use apps to compliment this process:
It’s important to make sure a child understands the root of a new concept and the rules. Unfortunately, you can’t always assume that if your child attends school, they understand the way the teacher presents new material. Sometimes teachers teach based on their own learning styles and may not use a variety of teaching methods. Unfortunately, if your child does not have a full understanding of new material being taught he or she will have a difficult time grasping information that depends on a previous well-rooted structure. To prevent this from happening it is important to work with your child/student one-on-one to help identify areas of strength and weakness. Once you can determine your child’s level of understanding, then you can set goals and move on in accordance with his or her personal level.
Teaching the why behind a method helps encourage practical learning. I recommend trying 3 different methods (verbal/intangible, visual/tangible, and practical hands on examples/tangible) to teach new information; especially if a child’s learning style has not yet been identified. For instance, if you want to teach your child analog and digital time, I would try the following methods initially:
- Verbal – Make sure your child has a good grasp of being able to identify numbers by name. Then clearly show your child the hands on a clock. Identify the short hand, long hand, and second hand.
- Visual – Use flash cards to help show how each hour appears on a clock. After the long hand (hour-hand) is understood move on to the half hour mark, then quarter mark and so forth (it is also helpful, if you have taught your child how to count by 5s).
- Practical – Play a matching game with flash cards to match the digital and analog clocks. Throughout the day ask your child to tell you the time. Be sure there is an analog clock in the home to reinforce the lesson.
- Reinforce through apps – Once, your child understands time the general idea of how time changes, then allow him or her to play time games with an online app.
Apps should be used to reinforce information and review, but may not necessarily teach the foundation of a new concept. This of course may change with time, but now, I believe this is true for children.
For instance, if you want to learn a foreign language, an app can provide practice both verbally and non-verbally, but to be fluent speaker you must converse with people in order to develop conversational speech. Therefore, apps are not a do-it-all type of mechanism. Otherwise, we could just expose our children to foreign language apps and they could become fluent speakers once the app is mastered, but usually this doesn’t work.
If you want your children to enjoy learning from apps help prepare them so they feel excitement when they get the correct answer. Apps are a tool that should help boost a child’s confidence. In my opinion, parents and teachers, should use apps as a secondary, not primary learning tool. Apps are great, but if a child hasn’t fully learned the basics and are struggling to get the correct answers, then the games probably won’t be fun and good practice opportunities will be missed. Apps provide instant gratification which helps children immediately know whether an answer is right or wrong. This is great, but you don’t want you child to resist learning from other methods, so don’t use apps exclusively, so moderation is important too.
What I love about apps the most is that they help promote self-motivation among children. I encourage parents to download apps that will become more challenging as a child masters new material. In fact, some of the best apps are ones that provide adaptive learning, which allows the app to adapt to the specific user and revise itself in accordance with the users input of information.
Repetition deepens the impression. Once a concept is learned from time-to-time you will need to revisit it, in order to maintain your level of understanding. When looking for an app for your child here are several factors that you want to be aware of:
- Is the app appropriate for your child’s level of learning?
- Does the app build on information and concepts shared?
- Does the app guide your child within the learning process?
- Are the games fun for your child? Does the app have in-app purchases or ads that may distract from learning?
Of course, you are totally free to do what you feel is best for your family, but I wanted to let you know my personal method. While my methods work, there are a variety of ways to reach the same goals.
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