Edutainment is a nonsensical word often used by teachers to emphasize that entertainment should be educational and education should be entertaining. Children today seem to bore quite easily. They love to use that phrase to describe a lack of interest or desire in a particular task. Parents and teachers have begun to use devices as a primary source of entertainment for children. Tablets, IPads, cell phones, E-Readers, and other electronic devices are exposed to children as soon as they develop an interest. Children, as young as six months old, are often able to navigate technological devices, including unlocking and accessing apps. While experts may differ in opinion that exposure to hours of device usage is harmful, I argue that what they are exposed to on the device is more crucial than exposure to the device itself.
As a parent, I am very intentional about loading only educational apps on my children’s devices. Some of their favorite apps include ABCYA, Khan Academy, Prodigy Math, and countless others. Don’t get me wrong, ever so often, they also will ask to watch YouTube videos of their latest trending obsession. Currently, making slime is the newest craft obsession. However, apps like YouTube Kids and Candy Crush are what I like to call treat apps. Like a candy bar, we use these apps sparingly. Limiting the use of non-academic apps has allowed my children to excel in school. But here’s the kicker, my children love these educational apps. They spend time on these apps with no complaints. I even notice that they will still use the educational apps, even for their free choice opportunities. Educational apps have made learning engaging and fun for children.
I remember when I first began teaching over 15 years ago. I would find silly songs to use to engage students in learning new concepts. They loved participating in music and movement, which helped aid in students grasping concepts and retaining them rather quickly. Technology advancement has made this teaching method easy and convenient. Teachers can now easily find an engaging song on YouTube to help them learn any curriculum. In fact, our school, High Achievers Education Center uses educational apps to help students progress and excel. They engage in other subjects, but during tech-time, there’s an additional sense of excitement. The teachers select apps to load on the children’s devices that review and accelerate their level of learning. The children love that type of education. The great thing about teaching this generation is that technology makes it easy to create learning fun and entertaining. Soon, take some time to evaluate your little one’s devices and replace the random app selections with intentional learning apps to help them become High Achievers.
Dr. Nadra Powell
Owner/Educator of High Achievers Education Center Inc.