It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a few years since Apple released tablet computing to the world, but in that short time the tablet has gone from a new gadget for the tech crowd to an almost irreplaceable tool for teaching.
Home computers have been around for over three decades now, and there has been teaching and learning software available since the beginning. However, the revolutionary advance that tablets have brought to education is their intuitive touchscreen interface. Not only will they no longer need to know how to use a keyboard or mouse, but kids who can’t read or even know the alphabet can sit down with a tablet and start using it right away.
Of course a tablet is just a tool, and like any tool, it must be used properly to be effective. Below are some suggestions to get you started using tablet computers to introduce your child to computers and the outside world.
Very young children
A child’s ability to learn and absorb new concepts can be extraordinary, and while some children may be ready to learn to use a tablet more quickly than others, it’s never too early to give them a chance to try it.
- Drawing program – Drawing apps can be great for kids of all ages, but they are an excellent way to introduce kids to tablets first. At its core, this is tablet use at its most basic and immediately satisfying: you move your finger across the screen and a line appears where your finger has been. It’s basically finger painting without the mess. This is also a great way for young children to learn about colors.
- Recognition of letters and numbers – It’s never too early for kids to learn the alphabet and numbers and there are dozens of apps out there designed for toddlers that help do just that. A good app will be highly interactive, associate numbers with counting, and even start introducing your child to standard keyboard layouts.
Many children don’t start reading until they are in first grade, but many of them start reading much earlier. Early reading apps help introduce reading in an engaging way that can sometimes hold a child’s attention more effectively than simply reading it to adults.
- Learn to read – Books aren’t going away anytime soon, and neither should they, but tablets can provide a much more interactive experience for kids just learning to read. From animations that illustrate stories to books that read to your child on their own as they follow the highlighted text, these can be very effective and interesting ways to learn to read.
- More advanced reading – It’s hard to think of a book that isn’t available as an eBook these days, so whether your child is reading Curious George or Harry Potter, digital versions of those books are a great way to not only keep tabs on what they’re reading, but also maybe save some money. dollars in the process.
Mathematics and Science
Let’s face it, we are not all experts on the things we want our children to learn and at some point in their schooling – often sooner than we are ready – they will learn or want to learn things we don’t. not know enough about to teach. Thankfully, there are apps and videos available to fill that gap, and when your child finds something he or she likes to explore further, there’s no end to the knowledge to explore.
- Make math fun – The computer is a direct descendant of the calculator and math is still probably what they do best. Math can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be, and with the right software, it can be both less intimidating and more enjoyable.
- Science – There is no comparison between looking at a diagram of the solar system and seeing a moving animation. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a narrated or annotated video about a volcanic eruption or rocket launch is worth a lot.
- YouTube – You might think of YouTube as a site you don’t want your kids to visit, but besides trash, there’s a treasure trove of expertly delivered educational material that will blow both your and your kids’ minds. Of course you should always screen videos first, especially for younger children, but some great YouTube accounts to look at include OrganicLearning, MakeMeGenius, KhanAcademy, and CrashCourse.
The learning software available for tablets is nearly endless, but some other areas of interest include:
- Foreign language – experts say that children are more capable of learning a new language if they start early and learning on a tablet where they can proceed at their own pace and hearing the proper pronunciation is a great place to start.
- Music – You will never learn to play the trumpet on an iPad, but you might learn the piano. Besides the piano keyboard, there are many apps that will help your child learn to read music and recognize musical instruments by sound.
- Handwriting – It may seem counterintuitive to think that you can learn handwriting on a computer, but a touchscreen interface is perfect for helping guide young hands in proper letter formation.
You may notice that I’m not recommending any particular tablet or app in this post. There are dozens of tablets available and thousands of apps available for them – too many to mention and new apps released every day. If you’re looking to buy a new tablet to use with your child, you can’t go wrong with an Apple iPad or an Android tablet made by any major manufacturer. But there are plenty of other options on the market – be sure to read reviews and see what software is available before you make your purchase.
And always remember that a tablet is just one tool to help your child’s education. While many apps are designed to allow children to work unsupervised constantly, it’s a good idea to reinforce lessons learned and, whenever possible, show your child how what they’ve learned applies to the real world.
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