The Benefits of E-learning and Apps for Children

Worldwide, tablet devices are becoming an increasingly popular tool for parents and teachers, with many learning centres and schools now using them in class on a regular basis. This could well be due to the fact that some recent reports have shown children with access to educational apps on computers, smart-phones or tablets, are performing better and remembering their lessons in more detail.

Many parents are saying that their children are benefitting from the use of tablets and iPads because they encourage independent learning and their children prefer them to other, more traditional learning aids. The introduction of the iPad and other tablet devices – with easy to use touch screens, fast uploads and portability – means even very young children can take advantage of the features.

Invaluable tools such as a translation ability, dictionary, thesaurus and calculator are all merely a tap of the screen away, and the audio and visual possibilities are endless. Students of all ages can now have access to language courses and general study programs through e-learning platforms, and young children can be educated and entertained on the go!

Many companies have brought out slightly more robust, child-friendly tablets and there are applications on the market catering solely for the under-fives. Reading apps can be particularly helpful in that there are options available depending on the reading level of your child. They can read the text for themselves, often accompanied by additional interactivity in each scene, or they can select narrator options with a built-in ‘storyteller’. The text is sometimes even highlighted as the narrator dictates each word, a great way to familiarise children with word sounds and pronunciation.

The children at some of the Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning Centres in NSW have been using tablet devices in a whole new way! They have been exploring with an iPad and attachable microscope, choosing objects of their liking to zoom in on. They had some flowers, leaves, feathers, glitter, marbles and pom-poms to start off with. As they were looking at these objects, the children were encouraged to take photos of the ones they really liked.

Outside in the centre’s specialised play areas, they looked at different areas, including the sandpit, plants, slide, grass and soft fall. When the children took a closer look at the softball they explained that it looked like rocks and further explained that the sandpit looked like cereal and rice!

In Australia, as with many other countries who possess a comprehensive educational system, children have struggled for years with schoolbags full of heavy textbooks, pens, rulers, calculators, sketchbooks and all the other things they will need for the day’s lessons. With the introduction of the tablet device, perhaps we can look towards a lighter future, hopefully, one full of fun audio and colourful learning. If we look at the tablet as an educational tool, rather than an entertainment device geared for distraction, then perhaps we can all learn to learn in a new way!