I am thrilled to have Jamie Hill as my guest writer today. She’s a stay-at-home mom who loves technology and blogging and brings a fascinating perspective to the conversation about tablets and younger children. Enjoy!
There are few things parents focus on more than the education of their children. The debates can seem overwhelming: whether there should be more or less homework, how big the class sizes should be, how much freedom or creative learning should be encouraged within the classroom, and what parents should or shouldn’t do at home. It’s the last one that can keep us up at night…what more can we do to prepare our kids for their educational careers and beyond?
If you are a parent who wants to do that extra bit, recognizing what educational tools are available and affordable – especially in this digital information age – is step one. New technology, such as tablets designed for kids, has allowed parents to equip their children with educational toys that have the potential to both teach and entertain. There are well-reviewed kid’s tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire, Fuhu Nabi, and Google Android, but a current favorite tablet for kids starting primary education is called the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Power Green.
This device seems to strike the right balance of the style of the iPad and more old fashioned toys. Its chunky and rugged feel suits little hands and parents I know are happy it’s durable enough to handle multiple droppings. Because this type of tablet is built to prolong battery life, it can be really useful on long or short journeys. When you’re trying to keep kids entertained during the more boring outings, such as a trip to the supermarket during rush hour, a bag-sized tablet is a handy thing to have around.
If you’re thinking, ‘do I or don’t I allow my young child to enter into the world of tablets’, there are further advantages to considering tablet devices designed specifically for kids. For safety and parental control reasons, they have limited access to the internet, and are pre-installed with age-appropriate apps that focus on subjects like music, foreign languages, vocabulary and math, potentially aiding them throughout their studies.
Tablets like those from Leapfrog, Kindle, and Android also introduce kids to photography and various creative games that allow them to explore the limits of new technology. And perhaps parents can be comforted by the thought that their children have the tools and access they need to keep pace with the fast pace of modern life that will certainly play a pivotal role in their education.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.