Technology is finding its way into classrooms today whether it’s through students’ cell phones or through school-issued devices such as iPads. It seems as though the growing trend in schools is to embrace this inevitable entrance of technology through either Bring Your Own Technology programs or school-issued tools. As technology comes full force into the classroom the real question is how to best utilize this ever-growing resource.
As a children’s app designer I am constantly torn between those who argue technology is the future of education and those who claim it spells the end for learning. I think technology can greatly increase student attentiveness and engagement in the classroom, but the biggest problem is educating teachers on how to best utilize what is available as well as how to locate the best out there. For every quality educational app there seem to be 50 others simply trying to make a quick buck and distract children while parents run errands.
I think the solution to this problem is the responsibility of both the parents and teachers buying the app as well as the app developers. With so many resources out there such as Teachers With Apps and GeekMom it is easier than ever to see what is new and of high-quality in the technology world. One of the biggest setbacks seems to be almost too much information available, to the point that it has become overwhelming. If that is the case I’d recommend simply following two sites that provide children’s technology information and be content with that. As beautiful as the web’s infinite resources are, they cease to be useful if they drown you in information.
As for developers we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard if we hope to effectively engage with teachers and schools. For example, here at Mibblio, the musical book app I work with, we strive to work with the best in children’s music, including Grammy award-winning bands and musicians. We also come with a qualified background: one co-founder has a long history in the music industry and the other is currently a teacher as well as musician. These are the people that should be advising on and creating the apps that teachers share with their students.
I believe it is time apps go even further and prepare curriculums and lesson plans to accompany their products to make the incorporation of this technology all the easier for hard-working, busy teachers. Mibblio is currently in the process of learning what exactly teachers need from technology and how to best supplement curriculums already in place.
Curious to find out more about Mibblio? Reach out to Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Savannah is a student finishing up her final semester at Columbia University, majoring in Archaeology and English. She is also the Creative Assistant at Mibblio, a children’s musical book app, and works at the American Museum of Natural History in the archaeology lab. Savannah is of the technology generation and is always looking to find a healthy balance between the infinite possibilities of technology-based and traditional learning approaches.