By Kaitlin Krull.
Gadgets are here to stay, especially for the children of our generation.
Everything in moderation: we’ve all heard the phrase, we all (hopefully) know what it means. Like you, we at Modernize know that it has never been more applicable to anyone than to children. Too many sweet treats lead to upset stomachs, too much spinning makes you dizzy, and too many gadgets turn children into zombies. While the first two are undoubtedly true, I beg to differ about the third assumption. When implemented in the right way, the gadgets we use on a daily basis in our homes have the ability to serve as useful and educational tools for our children. So, what exactly can these gadgets do?
Laptops and tablets
Most of us have at least one device in our home that has the ability to access the Internet, so most of us will be familiar with the potentials and pitfalls of computers, smartphones, and tablets. The Internet allows us (and our children) to access virtually anything we need or want, but many parents find that scary and try to avoid it altogether. However, with the proper security settings in place, laptops and tablets can be invaluable tools for our children when it comes to learning. There are educational apps available for every subject you could imagine, from math and sciences through to music and foreign languages. The interactive nature of these apps means that there is something for everyone, and children are unlikely to get bored quickly. Online word processing applications, learning programs, and even games can teach children how to read, write, count, sing, draw, and problem solve in a seemingly unending variety of ways. And don’t forget Google: the place to go to find the answer to just about everything.
E-readers are the future equivalent to books, and for some reason are infinitely more interesting to children than their paper counterparts. Many computers and laptops have e-reader applications available to download or built in to the devices themselves, but a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reading device works just as well. With access to thousands of books, magazines, and periodicals at the touch of a button, e-readers make learning truly accessible, even outside the classroom. Many local libraries link their collections to online databases and allow you to borrow the virtual copies of their books onto your device for a period of a few weeks, just as you would at the library. One of the best features of e-readers is the ability to view and edit PDF files uploaded onto the device via USB or from the Internet.
Personal digital assistants, or PDAs, are now an antiquated gadget in most homes, as smartphones and tablets have the same functions available as standard. Regardless, the features built in to PDAs include schedules, calendars, notes, and word processing applications that give kids the ability to organize and manage their time efficiently (an invaluable skill for both school and the outside world)
Regular kitchen timers, clocks, and stopwatches are essential in teaching children how to tell and manage time. These can be used for independent work, as part of a larger lesson, or in group learning games where keeping track of time is key.
For most of us adults, the lessons learned in Home Economics are more than a distant memory; they form part of our daily lives. If the aim of this article is to be a complete list of home gadgets that can be effective learning tools for our children, then the appliances we all learned how to use in Home Ec shouldn’t be neglected. Sewing machines, ovens, food processors, irons, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are all vital to our routines, and learning how to use them is an important part of growing up. Plus, the more we teach our children now, the less we will have to remind them in years to come (here’s hoping!).
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