By Lucy Gill, Director of Apps and Technology at Fundamentally Children
Our children are growing up in a society where tablets and phones are readily available to them. Children are exposed to technology from a very young age, and we cannot escape the fact that it plays an important role in their lives. Helping children engage positively with apps and technology provides them with additional learning opportunities and promotes understanding of this increasingly digital world.
As parents, we need to be responsible for choosing the apps that we would like our children to use – they should be fun and engaging, but they can, if we choose carefully, provide learning opportunities as well. At Fundamentally Children, we feel very strongly about this and have created the Good App Guide to help parents make informed choices.
The act of figuring out how to play a game is a learning opportunity in itself; as is mastering the tasks within. So even without an explicit educational content, our children are learning from the moment they access an app. But they can learn more if we help them engage with good apps with explicit learning content.
Two educational apps, which definitely have the fun factor, are Toca Lab from Toca Boca, and Crazy Gears, from Seven Academy. Both are fun science apps that encourage children to experiment, problem solve and communicate in a scientific manner.
In Skoo Crew, children are encouraged to complete mathematical challenges in order to help them succeed in the scooting game. The more challenges they complete, the more likely they are to achieve a high score.
Kids Tangram is a problem solving app where children have to use their matching and shape recognition skills to work out where the shapes fit; this is a good app for promoting problem solving as it really makes children think about their choices.
Throughout primary school children are taught to solve basic mathematical problems mentally; it is important that they can do this quickly and in the most efficient way. Two apps that develop a child’s
mental maths skills in a fun and engaging way are Perfect Times and Squeebles Maths Bingo.
Perfect Times is a fast and fun way to learn times tables; players can work at their own level, monitor progress and assess fluency without traditional testing. It is really important that children learn their times tables; these mathematical facts are the building blocks of many other areas of maths. If a child is confident in their times table knowledge, they will find certain mathematical concepts much easier to master.Perfect Times
Squeebles Maths Bingo, from Key Stage Fun, encourages children to improve their speed of recall in the four basic operations; children have to find the answers in the bingo grid as quickly as possible. The actual bingo game is fun itself, but there is also an added element of fun with the Squeeble ice cream parlour!
Another really good maths app is Tic Toc Time, from Seven Academy, this app teaches children more than just how to read a clock. As well as actually telling the time, children are taught about compass points, shadows and space in order to develop their understanding of the actual concept of time.
There are lots of really good apps out there, apps that are fun and educational. Have a look at the Good App Guide for more recommendations.