The technology debate is particularly interesting when you speak to parents of young children. I know some parents who say they will not give their children mobile phones or tablets until they are at school. To some extent, I agree, but if children learn best with technology it’s all for the good, right?
One of our designers here at HQ made a valid point, “The younger generations learn best with big shapes, bold colours and very, very simple menus” If these rules are followed then actually it could be a good thing to encourage children to start learning on mobile devices at a young age.
Here are a few examples of educational apps currently popular in the app stores that cater for the very young through to teenagers. The Guardian has a pretty awesome list for parents to look at here. Our favourites are:
1. Endless Alphabet – This is an excellent place to start from as young as needed. The design element is obviously aimed at the very young, as seen in the chosen colour schemes. It provides exactly what it says on the tin – endless fun for the child and endless repetition for the parents. A superb place to start for alphabet learning with a fantastically simple interface.
2. Duolingo – A FREE app that allows users to learn up to 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese) Long gone are the days of my French oral being played on a tape, YES a tape, and me having to quickly write down what I hear. Welcome to the new age! An age where everyone has mobile phones so an app that teaches languages on that device must only be a good thing. No more excuses for not learning your French verbs.
3. SquiggleFish – A creative app – based in an aquarium – the user gets to draw and colour in fish and other marine creatures and put them into their aquarium! This app cleverly introduces colours and shapes to children. The app has a range of choices in the free, basic version, but a wealth of other activities can be purchased from within the app, at the tap of a screen. Guaranteed to keep the little ones happy for a little longer.
So, given how dramatically things have changed in twelve short years, what will things look like in twelve years from now? As I am writing this article there is a pair of Google Glasses on my desk.
I wonder if there will be ‘whiteboards’ on the glass screens – that will display what the lecturer or teacher is writing on an interactive board at the front of the class. Will there be a need for actually coming into school at all or could the generations of the future be educated virtually either at home or in ‘learning dens?’ I think this is what is most exciting, we have this new technology in the form of wearables but how it will benefit and change how we work from day to day is still very much unknown.
Will this be the next stage of the educational evolution? Will my children be reading books on Google Glasses or virtual copies in holograms? The only welcome constant is change, and I welcome the change that technology will continue to bring to the space of learning and education. Your children won’t be able to pull a sickie in 12 years time…