My first iPhone: why technology is good for kids
I always thought that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the love of reading.
It leads to a lifetime of learning and broadens the mind, as it opens up a new world of discovery and fantasy.
I longed to sit down with my son, Harrison, enjoy a book and special time together. But it rarely happened.
Harrison was a chronic wriggle worm - he walked at 10 months and sprinted (endlessly) at 12 months. From that moment, his mum was a tad boring.
Our first attempt at homework in primary school was a farce. Harrison had limited attention span, a type of hyperactivity. He simply couldn’t sit still.
As a tiny tot, Harrison was fascinated with computers. By the time he was three years old, I couldn’t get him away from the screen. Why couldn’t he sit still with me but was glued to the computer screen? I’m talking about three hours before tearing him away.
Technology has given my son his education. Technology has taught my son to read, given him first-rate keyboarding skills and use complex applications that are taught at university. The high-level stimulation of cyberspace holds his attention. Traditional learning is still a giant battle.
I’ve used a computer for more than two decades but Harrison, 14, has functional computer skills on par with any university student. He is a high-achieving student in English.
So much for my ambitions to play a huge part in his education (although I do admit I am always googling information on my iPhone, explaining all the facts he craves).
My last seven years of professional development have been conducted online. I now teach students online and I mark papers online. It’s normal practice.
My daughter’s out-of-classroom learning mostly happens on a school-owned iPod Touch.
Her iPod Touch is loaded with educational applications for Grade 5 kids. Maths, language, geography – you name it. Learning is a lot more fun that the traditional drilling of the three Rs. A quick glance at my daughter’s iPod Touch and there you have it – the three Rs, hotted up with fun applications.
I have a play on her iPod Touch spelling game. She has to snatch it off me.
The school’s iPod Touch has blocks on social media websites, like Facebook, and other inappropriate sites but the students have free access to all learning applications – on one pad, at their fingertips.
Kids always have gadgets in their hands. It’s what they are used to in this 21st century. My kids grab my iPhone whenever possible to play games. Kids are the masters of the new technology – it seems innate to them. They soak it up, enjoying the stimulation and challenge.
Kids will learn in their own way. My belief is if you want to know something, you will find out – no matter what. If you want to develop a skill, you will practice it – no matter what.
With today’s sophisticated learning tools, kids are adapting easily. They want to learn, to satisfy their curiosity. Schools are smart if they embrace new technological tools, as we adapt to a world in cyberspace.
The trick is finding a balance between using technologies to prepare our children for progress and teaching the three Rs in a stimulating way. I‘m impressed with the iPod Touch’s learning applications. I think students will love gadget learning because it holds their attention.
Our kids are becoming sophisticated with what the world offers them in technology. It makes them brighter and wiser – faster.
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