With each year of technology development and the increasing popularity of smartphones, mobile app downloads are increasing and now amounts to more than 1 billion downloads. A paper writer has researched and explains why they work and how much they can help supplement children’s education.
As parents worldwide are well aware, the pandemic has forced the school to be transformed into a monotonous digital experience. Since no one – neither schoolchildren nor parents, teachers or administrators – was prepared, nor knew very well what they were doing. Many parents decided to reinforce their children’s education on their own to support learning and prevent children from falling into the clutches of YouTube, Tik Tok, and video games all day long.
Otherwise, the frenetic increase in the use of educational apps on mobile devices cannot be explained. It is estimated that their use, in March 2021 alone, increased by 105% globally, and their downloads in the first half of the year, adding Apple Store and Google Play, reached 936 million, a record on both platforms.
There are those to strengthen mathematics, improve English or reinforce reading comprehension. Although the logic used by each is different, those that are most successful usually incorporate artificial intelligence, which through algorithms quickly detects the user’s level of knowledge and learning speed and adapts to their rhythms.
Educators published a test of school math problems focused on parents, which only 40% of adults could pass. That indicates that very few moms or dads could help their children with homework or studying at home.
It’s a massive problem because parents are super limited when supporting kids with homework outside of school, and it’s also an even bigger problem in times of confinement. Right now, parents have to complement or often replace the teacher when they send the homework virtually. If it turns out that the vast majority of them do not know or master a division or a fraction, things that a child of 11 or 12 can handle, it is difficult for them to help them with the homework.
Why is this? Is the content more difficult than before, or do adults forget it very quickly?
The parents had old-fashioned learning methods, which perhaps they never understood well, and if they do not use those contents in their day-to-day life – also because they do not master them -, they forget them. My opinion, then, is that educational methods need to be updated, and basically for one reason: we are fortunate to have the technology, with its pros and cons, and we can put it to good use. How? By personalizing content. For example, Smartick is based on artificial intelligence and can offer you the exact range you need, the content you need to reinforce, and you can assimilate it at speed. Thus, you can adapt the program like a glove to the profile of each child, and when learning is personalized, you remember it, understand it and master it better because you assimilate it at the pace that your head allows.
What has your experience been like as a parent in the confinement and computer classes?
It has been complicated. Parents have had to work more hours than ever at their jobs from home, trying to juggle childcare with not missing their duties as a professional. That’s in addition to the fact that they’ve also had to do a bit of teaching. What advice do I give? If they want their children to continue learning, digital tools are the best ally because they guarantee that they will improve. And the advice I would give to schools and teachers is to prepare very well for next year. We don’t know when we will return to normality, so we have to change pedagogical projects and integrate online tools into regular classes. The future will be neither what we have now nor what we had before. Children will attend school in person, but the role of the teacher has to change. He has to be a manager in the classroom and rely on technological tools that do tailored training for each child and bring out the maximum potential of all. It is not enough to pass the physical book and let them see it on a tablet but to integrate personalized methodologies in a group class. Still, the training is individual, according to the capacity of each one.
Do you see that these crises, with all their negative aspects, can be a possibility for this process to accelerate, considering how slow these cultural changes tend to be?
Absolutely. The situation has dramatically accelerated this change in mentality, habits, and the way of teaching. Both families and teachers have lost their fear of virtual learning, of new technologies. It is a change that is here to stay. It is not a fad.
But in the USA, one in four children say they have learned very little or no school content from home. Can this frustrating experience of spending so many hours in front of the screen without many results provoke a sense of suspicion regarding technology applied to education?
It is true that the number of hours in front of the screen, compared to providing life, has multiplied by three or four. But the reaction should not be to run away from technology but to make good use of it. We must allocate the hours in front of the screen to educational tasks so that children are learning and do not use the tablet or the computer to play games all the time. Because right now, we have no choice but to rely on technology to learn.
What advice would you give to positively regulate the use of technology in children without it becoming a tyranny? How have you taught your children to use it in moderation?
We are talking about a digitally native generation, for whom screens and technology are a natural environment. My advice is to limit screen time. It is unacceptable that they spend hours and hours, between 4 and 8 a day, before them. You have to modify it. And secondly, we must make an effort to ensure that these hours are mainly used for educational purposes rather than entertainment. In my case, my children did not have a cell phone until they were 14 years old and, I have not had a TV for ten years. I have always had parental control installed on the tablet and computer to control the content they entered. And then to keep an eye on what they do, where they go, what they look for, and what they spend their time doing.
Many parents, however, go to the extreme and deny them all access to technology, disconnecting them from their social environment, which tends to have social networks or consume digital content.
It is necessary to find a middle ground where children can interact with screens and browse and discover things but control how much time they spend and what they spend their time on. Children whose parents put their cell phones on them from the age of 6 months to watch something and things like that impact this generation. As they are used to the culture of immediacy, with so many implications of the screen and short-term rewards, the ability to concentrate has decreased a lot. When they sit down to do something calmly, they find it harder to focus than previous generations. It is said that the new IQ will be the ability to pay attention and concentrate. Those children who achieve this will be the most successful in the future.
These are some of the other most downloaded educational apps of the year.
It’s the children’s version of the popular app for learning and exercising languages. Although the traditional version is friendly enough for children, this one -only available for learning French, English, and Spanish- incorporates more visual and didactic exercises, with more oversized buttons and lots of colours.
This app, designed for iPad, is a journey of two explorer children to look at the world from geometric figures. It was developed by Montessori educators and is focused on children between 5 and 10 years old. It includes six games and scenes that seek to promote categorization, hierarchization, and understanding of geometry and integrate our environment.
DotToDot Numbers & Letters
Connecting the dots was a classic activity book game, which has returned in glory and majesty with this app, which serves to complete images and has activities adapted to form words, learn to count, do sums, and much more.
Kahoot! is an app for playing trivia or questions with alternatives, allowing you to create them. There are hundreds of thousands of quizzes available from dozens of categories, and it also provides the possibility of presenting and solving them simultaneously on different devices. In other words, a teacher or a parent can show a trivia game and see the answers to their students or children’s lives.
Elissa Smart is an omnipotent demiurge behind PaperHelp’s blog. Driven by seething creativity, not only she helps students with particular research and writing requests, but also finds the energy to share her extensive expertise via blog posts.