Courtesy of: Schools.com
A powerful broadcast tool that we don’t even consider “media” is our educational system. You know, that place you go to that’s a lot like TV, except you’re just watching one person (or several) quote things to you out of a book. Then you read that book, then you take tests.
Most of us will agree that this procedure is neither stimulating nor nurturing. It’s actually just cheap baby-sitting, coupled with maths and a few useful dates.
Technology to the rescue! A survey conducted in Maine, quoted to us by Schools.com, finds that kindergartners who used iPads in the classroom scored better on a literacy test than those who didn’t.
Well and good, you say, but what does that actually prove?
Studies have also shown that the ‘net has been great for literacy in general, and that iPads especially have been useful in breaking educational barriers with autistic children.
But look at this less as evidence than as promise. The iPad is one of those powerful tools that children pick up and can almost instantly just use. They watch films, interact with stories and play games with them, mainly.
It’s this tactile quality we care about: they’re actually interacting in a physical way with content. The act of doing versus just listening is actually better for learning everything from the simple rules of grammar to reasoning skills to decision-making to complex systems — one reason why interactive educational games are so powerful.
If you happen to be poking around for good iPad apps for kids, they’re easy to find (and many are free). Best Apps for Kids has great ones for preschoolers; and The Guardian’s Apps Rush (run by our own Stuart Dredge!) provides a weekly recap of brand-new apps, including fun ones for children.
I remain a big fan of Draw Something, which enables me to engage with my nieces and nephews from afar while we exercise our spacial logic and artistic savvy. (They’re usually stronger at both.)