Using technology to enhance learning and care for children


The world is getting increasingly focused on technology and interconnectivity. This is a change that has become very vivid in this generation, so it can be hard for parents and caregivers to know how and when to introduce technology to the children in their care. Here are some tips to make sure that the technology that you introduce enhances learning for your children. 

Keep it interactive

Rather than parking your child in front of the 'electronic babysitter', sit with them and check what content they are absorbing. Ask them questions about the content, both explicit and implicit. It is a good idea to sit with your kid and ask them questions about what is going on in their show, app or program. This turns the activity into an interactive experience where they need to review and interpret the material in front of them. There are some great digital programs and online streamed content, for example, that are very interactive and can teach children skills such as dance or a new language. 

Monitor the time on screens

While screen time is generally not advised for under 2's, these recommendations are slowly being changed as technology becomes more interactive. A better guide is to judge how long your child remains interested and engaged with digital content. It can often be good to break up screen time with regular activity breaks rather than having the kids have all of the screen time in one block. In order to keep an eye on this when you are busy, it can be useful to download episodes of your child's favourite show on mobile devices and remember how long each episode is. That way you can know how long they have been on devices when you hear the theme song of their favourite show again. 

Use high-quality content

Not all children's content is created equal. The best children's content is engaging to children and has characters that they identify with. It will also weave in important learning opportunities including life skills, emotional skill and literacy and numeracy facts. These factors are equally important in children's content, and it's important not to focus on academic skills to the detriment of engaging content. Try asking teachers or child care educators for advice on useful content for children in your child's age group. 

Technology can be a useful way to enhance learning and childcare for children. Choosing high-quality content and reviewing the content with your child can help ensure this is a true learning experience. 


23 February 2016

Helping gifted children blossom

My children are so smart that I struggle to deal with their questions. Having gifted and talented children brings a whole new range of challenges to parenting so I am starting a blog to connect to other parents with gifted and talented children. I want to talk about how we can stimulate their thirst for learning in and out of the school environment, as well as talking about the particular challenges for Australian parents of gifted and talented children navigating the school system. We can all learn from each other and help to make sure the education system works for our children too.