A parent’s guide to back-to-school tech for kids

0

During her first year in elementary school, we discovered that my daughter was dyslexic. One evening, while preparing for a spelling test, we were both out of breath. She had trouble spelling the words as I presented them, and I grew frustrated interpreting her struggle as “bored and distracted.”

As an edtech consultant specializing in learning with technology, like augmented and virtual reality, I remembered a tool called AR Catchy Words. Think Pokemon Go, but for the spelling of words. The letters virtually “floated” around the room as she grabbed virtually each letter, one at a time, to spell the word.

When she finished spelling the words in the correct order, the app celebrated her achievement with fireworks, applause, and cheers. An hour later, I asked her to spell the word again, and she was still able to spell it. Driving her to school the next day, I asked again, and without any delay she spelled it correctly.

Why has this app made such a difference? It was a personalized learning experience. First, it got her moving, which she loved more than sitting at a table for an hour. My daughter is a kinesthetic learner and enjoys being active in her learning experience. Second, it incorporated spatial learning, moving the material from 2D to 3D. Third, she was encouraged to succeed through fun play and celebrated at the end of the activity.

Students can be more successful when they use technology that matches their own learning styles and interests. But finding the right technology can take time, even if you’re an expert. Below are some tips on how technology can help kids get back to school.

The best back-to-school tech gadgets and accessories

GizmoWatch

For kinesthetic or active learners like my daughter, the GizmoWatch is a great smartwatch for kids. With timers and alarms, a GizmoWatch can help kids stay on track with homework and chores around the house. Plus, a built-in step tracker can incorporate active play into after-school routines by setting step goals for free time. And two-way calls and texts make it easy to coordinate after-school pickup.

smart speakers

Kids also find this advanced technology a cool gadget for school. Now available in a variety of shapes and colors, smart speakers can support homework questions, read a story, create a musical mood for concentration, or support healthy sleep routines. Not only are these kids gadgets delicious, but kid-friendly smart speakers also have more security settings to protect your child from unwanted access and reassure you.

Tablets

Many kids get school-provided Chromebooks or laptops, but tablets are a great addition. Tablets use our natural gestures to interact, making the technology particularly adaptable to young learners. Depending on the age of your child, look for tablets with good parental control features built into the device.

A smart night light

Sudden and loud alarms are a thing of the past with the new smart bulb. Gradually waking up with a soft glow, especially at the beginning of the school year, will create the right mood for the whole day.

Listeners

We live our lives in a continuous state of distraction. Using headphones, children can eliminate noise that would keep them from being productive and working, as well as reduce stress and anxiety by limiting overwhelming sounds. Kids can also play classical music to stay focused and focused on learning, or listen to audiobooks while following the textbook.

How to help kids get the most out of learning with technology

Learning how to best support my daughter Elliana has not been easy, but has often been found through trial and error. When I noticed his interest in active learning through play, I tried to include more activities that got him moving. We had the best results when I helped her notice that she was having fun learning, and why it was fun, so I could find something that suited her needs. The school can also gain insight into children’s learning styles, or you can see if your child is naturally drawn to any of the three listed below.

Understanding children’s learning styles

  1. Visual Learner – These learners usually have a knack for drawing, can easily grasp the concept of maps, and would rather look at something than read.

  2. Auditory Learner—These can pick up sounds in the background, love to talk about things, and may have an interest in music.

  3. Kinesthetic learner – These display good hand-eye coordination, use a lot of physical gestures when speaking, and can be described as restless when sitting too long.

Technology to support children’s learning styles

Tablets and laptops: Visual learners can use videos and tutorials to learn more about a demanding assignment.

Smart Speakers: Auditory learners can listen to recordings and podcasts.

Games—Consider online games for kinesthetic learners in a topic they might struggle with.

How to find online learning resources

When I first noticed the Catchy Words AR app, I thought of it as an augmented reality hangman type game. I didn’t see the value until I saw it in action with my daughter. Finding the right app starts with understanding your child’s strengths and interests and how they can use those talents to deal with their challenges.

Tips

  1. Identify where your child is struggling. Discuss with them what is difficult in class and where they want to be more confident.

  2. Identify a resource that uses your child’s interests, such as art or sports. When a child feels confident in a skill, they are more willing to take on a new challenge.

  3. Keep the resources changing, as kids will get bored with the same activities. (And check out Verizon’s new Welcome Unlimited plan to help cover the costs of multiple connected devices in a family.)

Finally, back-to-school tips for parents: keeping kids safe online

Now that you know how certain home technologies can help your child, it’s also worth taking a closer look at the parental controls on these devices.

smart speakers

Consider changing the wake word for smart devices. Consider connecting these devices to a family account, such as Amazon Kids for Alexa devices or Digital well-being for Google smart speakers, which draw from a library of kid-friendly content.

Tablets

Tablets have parental control settings on the device. You can limit screen time for children or Wi-Fi access, for example, from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also control whether they make in-app purchases. And child-friendly tablets are designed with child safety in mind.

VR and gaming

Even with educational apps, it’s important to review parental controls and dismantle chat options where appropriate.

Now that my youngest daughter is in college, she has learned to express her individual needs to perform at her best. Although not all circumstances will always match her exact preferences, she is aware of her strengths and knows how to use them. She always asks for help if she can’t solve problems on her own, but we’ve come this far together, and I know we’re in a great position for the future.

Get ready for the next school year with a special offer: register for Verizon Smart Family premium online to protect your child and, for a limited time, get a $25 Verizon EGift Card and the first 30 days free. Offer ends 08/26/2022.

Share.

Comments are closed.