Kids and Tech
July 20, 2020

Learning Through Change: Engaging Kids With Technology

Many parents are wondering how to keep their kids learning while school is out. If kids can't return to the classroom, we can still empower them to stay curious and motivated with the help of some new tech tools.

The right tools can help kids develop new skills and share their progress while they learn at home.

Thanks to the uncertainty cause by the pandemic, we’re seeing a shift in education from classroom to living room, directed to self-directed, formal to informal. And naturally, this changes the nature of learning itself. Prescribed curricula, schedules and exams are being replaced by organic, unstructured learning that often relies on technology. It’s challenging for parents and children to say the least—but it’s also a chance to let creativity and imagination drive kids’ development. With the right tools and opportunities to share their learning, children can stay motivated, excited and engaged as they go.

Class is in session—sort of

This new state of education comes with a learning curve for kids and parents (pun intended). And early efforts on the part of schools to transition lesson plans into a remote format have been fraught. This means that kids are often missing the connections they enjoyed at school—and their homeschooling parents are exhausted. Some have even opted to pull kids out of their online schooling altogether: Meghan Leahy, a parenting columnist for the Washington Post, published an article about the decision for her kid to quit school, and TED alum Sarah Parcak shared her family’s decision in a viral Twitter thread. The common theme? Both kids and parents were burnt out trying to learn from worksheets and assignments without the structure of school.

With this new normal, the strategy for education is shifting, too. Formal methods aren’t adapting as easily, and it’s been tricky to find ways for children to stay engaged and continue learning, even if it’s in an informal way. While a lot of parents are relying more heavily on screen time to keep kids learning, new tools and ways to share can ensure it’s time well spent.

Finding a new kind of creativity

If kids are using technology for their informal learning, art and drawing activities are great options because they’re active and creative. And, when kids explore their creativity on a screen, they acquire valuable and relevant skills in an increasingly digital world. Using a Logitech Crayon mimics drawing and writing with a pen and paper—while also building critical skills needed for digital learning. Introducing technology like this also gives kids a chance to further build fine motor skills, an important aspect of development when using educational apps.

Even if learning from home is less structured than what happens in the classroom, we can empower kids with the right tools so they continue to grow and expand their skillset. Introducing new-yet-familiar tools can also help students tap into their creativity and build confidence in a digital learning environment—something that will be a big part of their lives in the near and distant future.

Sharing beyond the fridge

But, there is much more to school than acquiring skills and knowledge: It’s also where kids form connections with each other and share what they’re learning. If they aren’t physically in the classroom, the challenge is to find new ways to help them stay connected. The element of show-and-tell keeps kids motivated—and also opens discussion and encourages explanation to support their understanding. This is another area where technology can be especially useful, giving us the chance to create a larger community of support for kids as they learn and create. Activities like Doodles and Drawn Together in Kinzoo give kids the chance to create one-of-a-kind artwork—and share with those who matter most. They can easily and safely show off their work to approved contacts with a quick message. This gives them the chance to celebrate their progress and accomplishments with a wider support network of grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, all within a private ecosystem.

Learning-as-we-know-it has changed over the last few months. But, kids are proving themselves resilient and parents are finding novel ways to adapt to the new normal. With the help of technology, we can give children the opportunity to keep growing, learning and developing—albeit in a less structured and more exploratory way.

Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

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