Parents in Action: Apps for Learners

There's little denying that technology is seeping more and more into classrooms every day. According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, almost 1 in 4 students age 8 to 18 use larger tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for learning both in and after school.  Sure tablets are fun to play with but with the right applications, a smartphone or tablet can be transformed into an immersive learning experience for kids all of ages.

Parents may struggle with deciding whether to expose their early learners to tablets and apps. Understanding how kids learn using apps and finding the right apps for them is key to making tablets a portal to an endless world of knowledge.

Can My Child Benefit from Tablet & App-based Learning?
The answer is an unwavering, yes. Starting at a very young age, there's an extensive niche of apps catered to providing toddlers and preschoolers early experiences with letters, numbers and even basic phonics. As kids get older the number of available apps grows exponentially more.

In a recent study, Rose Luckin, a professor at University of London, found that 5 and 6 year-olds that used tablets for recording school activities and replayed it for parents, learned material better than those students who didn't. The key, Luckin says, is this "talk time". She suggests that problems arise when tablet time replaces "talk time" which the professors says, is crucial to language development. Tablets and learning applications are a perfect opportunity to engage and experience with your child

Finding the Right Applications
When most parents think apps they immediately gravitate to iTunes, the Android Market or Google Play. Often parents are left to make decisions about apps based on a few customer reviews or no information at all other than what's provided by the app creators.

Now parents can get expert advice on educational apps as part of a new service called Educational Tools from Verizon. For only $2 a month, parents have access to learning applications that are handpicked and reviewed by experts, teachers and parents. Members will also receive discounts and month deals when you download new apps. To learn more, visit VZW.com/EducationTools.

A Few App Favorites

BrainPOP, Jr.
This action-packed app takes kids on a new animated adventure each week to explore science, health, reading and writing, social studies, math, or arts and technology. After watching that week's lesson, kids are invited to take an easy or hard quiz based on what they just learned. Then, parents can track and monitor their kids progress on a weekly basis. Cost: FREE

Tutor.com
Students can now use their mobile devices to get better grades. Really! With this app from Tutor.com, kids have access to 24/7, on-demand tutors in over 40 subjects. Cost: FREE (tutoring fees apply)

Copia
Help your kids become better readers today with Copia. Help your child build a library that will keep your kids reading and learning for years to come. Cost: FREE (fees for books)


More than half of the nation's schools districts have implemented tablets or e-readers into regular instruction. This means that as access to these learning tools continues to trend upward, schools will find that by incorporating tablets directly into curricula students can more easily understand and relate the information they're learning.

Although some experts show concern over the excessive use of tablets early on in development, Common Sense Media recommends having all children on a "media diet".

Sources:
TBParenting.com
TheJournal.com
UberFlip.com
VZW.com/EducationTools

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