Digital Dimdima

PARENT'S TALK

Technology Motivates our Kids to Organize

Author - Susan French

Thirty years ago, our mothers pinned reminders on our jackets as they packed us up for kindergarten. Paper calendars were a mainstay on every refrigerator - miniature handwritten notes and eraser marks kept our lives intact. While these tools may have been adequate in simpler times, our children's lives have become increasingly harried. Kids have homework assignments, book reports, science projects, and a litany of other responsibilities. And on top of school, they have sports practices, music lessons, play dates, gymnastics, dance recitals, birthday parties (you get the idea). It's enough to make any parentís head spin! Our kidsí bustling calendars demand a technological response.
Luckily, our children now grow up tech savvy. Many know how to swipe the screen of an iPad before they can even read. Children have become the focus of a new and growing genre of educational apps designed to develop life skills at an early age. These apps not only teach kids to organize their schedules in the short term, but also valuable time management skills they will need in the future. But with the insurmountable number of apps at their fingertips, how do we as parents filter the app universe to find the best ones to help our little ones stay organized?

Key In on Important features Childrens' organizational apps, such as calendars and other time management tools, should be simple enough for kids of all ages to use. The goal is for your children to want to plan their weeks in advance. It is challenging to select a worthwhile app that will both educate and entertain. Look for apps that utilize all senses to stimulate learning. For instance, easy tap icons, colorful graphics, and pop up screens encourage children to focus. Voice activation tools help children connect vocabulary with ideas and concepts. The more involved your children are, the more they will take away from the app.

Youíre Not Alone. Fortunately, there are numerous educational websites that have already dedicated endless hours evaluating apps so you donít have to! In most instances, more than one evaluator reviews the app, so you get a point of comparison. With a few simple web searches, you can make a well-informed decision regarding the best app for your child. To stay informed, try visiting these sites on Fridays when the editors publish their top picks, as well as promote apps through sale prices and free giveaways. Another good source is the iTunes Store, which designates apps as "New and Noteworthy" or "Hot." This gives you an indication of what other parents like you are purchasing.
But the best way to pick an app is to involve your children. Ask them whether the app looks like fun and what they think they will learn. At the end of the day, our children are the best judges.

About the Author
Susan French is a kindergarten teacher, mentor and math coach, working for the NYC Department of Education for over 20 years. She is the co-creator of the 4KidCal brand of mobile calendar apps designed specifically for children. For more information on 4KidCal, please visit 4KidCal.com or write to 4kidcal@gmail.com

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