Monday, June 21, 2010

Responsibile iPad Use For Kids And Education in General

I don't have kids but I am in the fortunate position of being an uncle to a few little and adorable nephews and nieces. The best part about being an uncle is the absolution of any real parental responsibilities.

However, I am concerned about the mental and educational development of these kids. Instead of yielding their development to the Disney gang, Dora, and clueless blue dog, I tried to get them to work with games and puzzles. Of course, that doesn't always work.

But they were highly interested in my iPhone. And now, with my iPad. So, i make it a point to load up a page of apps suitable for their use.

Of course, it isn't just replace the TV with an iPad. A lot of it involves adult supervision. My three-year old nephew is adept with the home button and the swiping.

I think there is an inherent advantage to this. Not only I am able pull these kids away from the TV, which is the biggest win of all, they are learning something. At least, that's what I am hoping.

So far, the app that had the cutest animals, the noisiest, and large buttons seem to my nephews favorites. With an alphabet app, I worked with the kids to repeat the sounds. I think in two weekends of playing with the apps, my oldest nephew has learned quite a bit.

And that is what is going to make mobile work. Most the important mobile lesson I got out of this experience. Parents, teachers, and caretakers don't have to be tethered to a desktop to work with children. The convenience of a robust mobile platform with child-proof hardware (this includes drops, banging, excessive pressure on the screen, and, of course, drools).

More importantly, adult supervision is a must. Yes, there isn't any technology available that can supplement an adult working with a child. No technology that can replace a parent. Nevertheless, I am encouraged with what mobile tech can offer our children these days.

Note: I didn't get into motor skills but if anyone can point me to any app that improve motor skills, greatly appreciate it.

Another note:  I've yet to know of any device that can supplement a teacher in school or parental guideance at home.  I'm very serious about the positive impact of mobile gears like the iPad but very concern that adults might use them to remove themselves from their responsibilities of educating and raising children.

-- Post From My iPad

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