It’s not surprising in today’s digital age that recent studies of how children learn today has revealed that they are becoming more and more attuned to digital devices in their learning and from an ever younger age.
The University of London research has established that where parents work with their children outside their school classes, the child’s learning rate is 6 times better than school classes alone.
This means that harnessing mobile devices and tools to support our children’s learning is a positive step. Parents need to be creative and innovative and not just see digital devices as distractions.
1: Explore the Apps and digital devices that aid learning
While only 20% of small children are able to swim, 70% of them can navigate a mouse for a computer game. Use that familiarity as a support while they are learning the new skill of reading. E-books are now widely available for all ages and can help bridge that gap to reading books.
Research studies support this, showing that educational apps on mobile devices increase the vocabulary of 5 year old by 27%.
Use apps to help children digest and retain information, not just for tests and exams, but for use later in life that do more than just replicate what is done in the classroom and more traditional revision.
2: Discover what motivates your child
Tap into what motivates children in the digital world and try to leverage that to engage them in learning – this is especially important for teenage boys. Manga learning is a good example of this creativity and is engaging children very effectively
90% of children said that they believe that using mobile devices help them to study more efficiently.
3: Use digital devices creatively
This means that you may not confiscate their phones at homework time and build a barrier to them. They can use their phones to support the work they have at school and find elements that support learning and creativity, but you may need to do a deal that Facebook chat isn’t included in their ‘learning’ session!
77% of parents recently questioned, agreed that tablets help their children with learning and creativity. Children are naturally creative and imaginative, so work with them to find out what ideas they have and build on that.
4: Ask them to teach you
Ask them to teach you what they have learned from their digital world. By asking them to teach you and role modelling good learning behaviour back to them, you are setting an example for them to follow and engaging them in a two-way dialogue about how to learn and why.
5: Get the YouTube habit
There are some great resources out there on sites like YouTube and many organisations have podcasts and other learning resources such as Infographics that can provide great resources for kids to use. Don’t just Google it, try searching YouTube too.
As digital devices become further and further ingrained in our culture and our everyday life, there is no doubt that with creative thinking and imagination we can harness their power to the needs of a new generation of learners. We just need to embrace them and work out how to do it. And often the kids themselves can be the very best source of ideas.