Back to School Tech for Kids: 4 Apps to ConsiderBy Renee Young

With Labor Day over, children are back to school equipped with all the supplies and tools necessary for another successful academic year. For many students, included on the list of tools is the latest in tech devices — laptops, smartphones and tablets. These tools are wonderful and readily embraced by students, but can cause anxiety for parents and teachers alike.

There are over 900,000 third-party applications available for both iOS and Android devices.  Of course, not all of those applications are for educational purposes, but the numbers are staggering.  So how do parents and teachers find safe applications that make tech for kids an effective part of the learning process, helping to propagate organization, collaboration and engagement both in the classroom and at home?

Check out these four types of apps that can help enhance the learning process for your children:

 

Internet Safety Apps

School projects often require Internet research, and we want children to enjoy freedom to surf the Web without the threat of online predators, bullies, violence, inappropriate language and other content that’s not kid-friendly. Parent controls for iPhones or iPads can ensure safe surfing for children by setting up blocks and filters that keep out unwanted content. Customizable safe browsers are also available for Android devices.

 

Organizational Apps

A good cross-platform app will track a student’s class schedule, homework assignments, projects, tests and quizzes. It should also have the ability to sync with all of the devices your family is using, including the ability to access class materials right from Mom or Dad’s smartphone. Students can also receive announcements from teachers such as “no class today.” The myHomework app, by Rodrigo Neri is one good option — and it’s free!

 

Collaboration Apps

Children can create stories, games, and animation and share them with an online community. Children have fun sharing their work, receiving feedback, and learning from one another in a fun and meaningful way.

Scratch provides a friendly creative learning community environment where guidelines teach children to be constructive with their comments. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, and is available free of charge.

 

Engagement Apps

There are apps for science, mathematics, engineering, reading, history and art, but downloading an app for your child doesn’t guarantee that he or she will spend time using it.

Engaging apps for children have elements of gamification. There is an application that parents can download that will track how long and how frequently an app is being used by their child.  Based on the child’s preferences, the parental app makes recommendations for other age-appropriate educational apps the child might enjoy.

 

At Computer Explorers, we are committed to helping students prepare for the future while having fun today. Our vision is to help children reach their full potential by using technology as a tool to engage students, enhance the educational process and prepare them for the future. We welcome preschool and elementary administrators to contact us to find out how to bring our TechStars programs into your schools. Parents are invited to use our program locator to find TechStars programs close to home.

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