We always want to give our kids the best things possible and to protect them from what we believe is causing them harm. Best food, best clothing, good schools, sports, hobbies supplies, fun trips, – everything has to be top quality. We research, seek advice, keep in contact with teachers and coaches, and then make up our mind on what suits our kids best. But what if we may get a little misguided along the way? What if something we believe to be harmful is actually a tool to improve kids’ learning outcomes? What if it makes them love learning, not hate it? Let’s tackle this point.
How Smart Education Works
Usually, we take gadgets and the Internet as something that distracts kids from learning and causes anxiety and stress in them. But everything can be both poison and medicine. Gadgets and access to the Internet-based storages of knowledge, games, tests, different custom essay companies or help services and multi-media stuff can help both kids and teachers make learning useful and fun. Smart education is just that – a take on modern technology that makes it work for kids’ good. It also employs all valuable sides of media to boost interest and make learning more critical and conscious.
Smart education is based on the concept of using modern smart technology – smartphones, tablets, cloud, video-chats, discussion boards, video-conferences and what’s not. SMART is also an abbreviation for self-directed, motivated, adapting, rich in resources and technology-based tendency.
Technology is here, and it is not going away in the near future. So instead of banning it from schools and learning, we need to embrace it and make it a handy tool.
When we use tech correctly, it solves many problems that traditional school often cannot. The diversity of content and methods available via technology makes it possible for teachers to:
- engage students who are bored or cannot focus on one task for long;
- invite to contribute to class discussion those who are shy and prefer to keep quiet;
- make lessons exciting and useful for kids of different academic levels in class;
- provide effective teaching to kids who have special needs;
- teach large classes and keep everyone busy;
- teach kids at a distance;
- give tests and tasks and check them at a distance as well;
- manage paperwork with fewer efforts and waste of time.
It seems that all benefits go to teachers, but actually, everything works for the well-being of kids who get more tailored teaching and more choices and diversity in their studies.
How to Make Technologies Work Well for Kids
Bringing in smart education is not about giving kids a tablet with games or simple tasks and leaving them alone. To the contrary, teachers and parents should be always near kids and help them or guide them on their learning paths.
Smart education at school is about necessary changes in teaching and class organization.
With the help of smart-boards and screens, teachers can show the stuff instead of just telling about it (suitable for students who learn better through seeing, not reading or listening). Tablets and screens go well with funny cartoons and songs for young kids who develop their literacy skills. This tool is both fun and learning.
When interactive devices and games are used for teaching, and a teacher steps aside to the role of a helper, learning becomes less formal and more inviting. In such an environment, kids feel more relaxed and ready to try, do things, make mistakes and fix them. And this is what helps them learn without fear or stress.
Speaking about children with special needs, for kids on the autism spectrum, or those with dyslexia, educational technologies (tablets, interactive boards, apps) can help them better express their thoughts. They can verbalize or show what they think or want and so it helps them stay on the same wave as others.
Teachers can benefit as well by using lesson plan software, using cloud storage for giving access to materials or assigning tasks, or even by organizing online classes for kids who cannot go to school.
At home, technology can also be not a disruptor, but a handy tool to teach kids things they may not learn in school. Parents can learn to use technology as well and to show kids how to learn on their own, explore, ask questions, look for answers and discover what they want to know. Safe Internet browsing is perfect for that (the keyword is safe and guided). So how can you as a parent help your kids to see more of the world through a tablet screen?
Show your kids that gadgets can be both useful and fun by finding good apps that teach languages, math, literature, or sing songs. You can use software for laptops or apps for smartphones, just make sure to find proper content and show kids how to use it. Invite them to engage in such playful learning. Show that they can control what and when to learn. This is about self-direction.
Watch TV or online programs with them. Watch cartoons, movies or clips. Ask them questions about their opinion and provide yours (but not like ‘I am adult, I am always right’). Talk to kids as you would to your friends or disagree with them as you would with friends.
What Content to Use
Download books with pictures or even interactive books. Read them with kids. Look at photos, interact with them, ask what kids like or do not like, why they prefer this or that thing. Invent another plot twist or ending together with kids. You may learn a lot about your child and his or her thoughts through this simple exercise. Much, much more than by routine asking ‘How’s the school today?’
Find useful and easy videos on historical topics. Watch them with kids. Or ask them to watch and then engage in discussion. Not by asking to retell these videos, but by providing their opinions and thoughts (yes, you need to watch it first).
Find useful math resources and direct your kids to them. When they face trouble or come to you asking for help, you will be in full arms to rush to their rescue. Maybe you do not remember math that good to tackle it on your own.
Invite kid’s friends and organize games. Organize ‘home cinemas’ or some master classes and discuss what you do. Employ technology to show the best sample of what you are talking about. You can enjoy music, art, poetry together.
Encourage your kids to share what they encounter on the web. They should feel free to come to you and say that someone asks them to do something weird or to disclose some sensitive information. Do not overreact or scold them for talking to strangers. Show them the right way and that you always stand by their side.
How to start
So if you are interested in learning more about the capacities of smart education, read more about differentiated teaching in class. Read about individual learning enhanced by technology, about the team learning where everyone contributes to common success (collaborative learnings), and about massive courses learning. Each aspect of technology is worth attention, and it can be applied in school or at home. Ask your teacher what you can do and what is done at school. Ask your kids where he/she needs help. Look at how you use gadgets. Do you use them with awareness and benefits? Maybe even you personally can benefit from the tips we offer.
Generally, the only difference between the teacher and students is that he or she prepares lessons on the eve of class, not after it. So if you plan to implement smart education or its elements for the benefit of your kids, you need to learn about these elements first. But if you master them and learn what technology can do, you will help your kids and make their education enjoyable. Moreover, they will know how to do lifelong learning as technology will be progressing. And that’s the best gift and skill you can ever give them in the modern world.
Author Bio: Emilie Villa is a successful freelance writer and copywriter for the last two years. She specializes in writing different types of papers. Also, she works closely in B2B sphere and provides blog writing and copywriting services. Emilie graduated from Colorado State University with bachelor degree and now lives in USA state Colorado.