Educational Apps are not what your father remembers they were a few decades ago! The days of boring numbers and simplistic animation on an Apple IIe or a Commodore 64 in poor resolution are ancient history. Thankfully these mundane programs coded in geek magazines to be typed in by hand paved the way for a rich learning environment beyond belief.
A Microsoft Showcase School Has a High Standard to Deliver
Since its inception, Renton Prep has centered on faith and technology. Becoming a Microsoft Showcase School demonstrated our resolve to build proven technology into our educational DNA. Often parents are intimidated by the innate technological skills of their children. This is common in most families in America and in a number of other countries as well. Renton has taken it to a higher level. There could be a very inspiring discussion about how a relationship with the Creator of science and technology contributes to intellectual advancement. However this is a discussion for another venue. This article will shine the light on the proliferation of educational apps.
The Culture of This Century Expects Technological Advancement
Lets face it – a kid will remain focused on a computer game for hours on end. Parents struggle to get them to stop and eat! Perhaps it’s more than just the kids that are hooked on technology. It’s just as likely that Dad might be hard to get to the dinner table. Setting aside the priority and balance issues in life for the moment, let’s consider the great advantages of enabling students to learn with the same addicting technology. Even as far back as the 1980’s, it was an established fact that kids who spent time with computers did better in math.
Loving parents have always wanted the best education for their children. They have always known instinctively that when little children excel in school, it is more likely they will excel in their careers and jobs as adults. Of course our current morass is showing that many highly educated people are working at poor-paying jobs, but all that proves is that it’s not the piece of paper a degree is printed on that matters – it’s what that degree should represent.
As we sail through the 21st century, technology in the classroom is becoming more and more predominant. Tablets are replacing our textbooks, and we can research just about anything that we want to on our smartphones.
As the technology advances, so does the standard of competition. Being good at Googling information is no longer a big deal. So the standard has been raised. That’s why Renton Prep is making sure our students are setting the trends, not following them.
Educational Apps Exceed All Expectations
There is a plethora of apps that are flooding the cloud. If you can imagine it – there’s a good chance there’s an app for it! When it comes to educational apps, here are a few that are among the best . . .
- Duolingo (website and app): Awarded Google’s “Best of the Best” in 2013, Duolingo provides free interactive foreign-language education in 15 languages. This is great because of Renton Prep being so well cultured and diverse. IPHONE APP OF THE YEAR
This would be a great app to accompany a foreign language class – teachers and students should take note!
- BrainPOP: One of the top apps that top the list in Microsoft for 2016 is called “BrainPop – movie feature.” It is available for your smartphone, tablet, and desktop.
Featured Movie topics tie into current events, historical milestones and figures, holidays, and more! This app is perfect for informal, exploratory learning at home or on the go.
- BiblioNasium: Now popular in many schools, this app encourages reading. “Part kids social network, part parent’s guide, part teacher’s tool.” It blends technology with personal connection to create a supportive, engaging space for reading success. This works well with Renton Prep’s own social network.
- Khan Academy (website and app):
A free website aimed at promoting self-paced instruction, houses thousands of academic videos that are often baked into guided, adaptive instruction.
FOR EXTREME GEEKS:
- Scratch and Scratch Jr (website and app): Scratch is a free online tool and app designed by MIT to help kids learn programming. “Coding is the new literacy! They learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively on the computer.” Kids program their own computer games, art and educational apps, and then share them with the rest of the online community, so everyone else gets to try it! Your child will get comments from real users about their game, and see how many people viewed their project. This is great because “Programing or learning to code” is where education and technology are going, teaching students now will help in the future.
Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.
- Quizlet and Brainscape (websites and apps): These tools allow kids to create their own digital flashcards.
- Dragon Box (multiple apps): Dragon Box has succeeded in making math into a very fun game. These puzzle-game apps are designed to secretly teach math, algebra, and geometry.
FOR THE VERY YOUNG:
- Abcmouse (website and app): ABCMouse.com is a preschool and Kindergarten online educational website that offers a more comprehensive curriculum than PBSKids and tracks your child’s progress.
- Montessori Crosswords:
Parents need to know that Montessori Crosswords helps kids ages 3 to 10 develop literacy skills by dragging and dropping letters into a crossword grid to form words that correspond to the given pictures. Very young kids can practice linking phonetic sounds to letters (one of the fundamentals of Montessori) while older kids can expand their vocabularies in the higher of three difficulty levels. The menu contains a link to the publisher’s site with tips for parents.
- Tiny Robot Maker:
Making choices and learning about shapes, color, and the structure of the human body are some of the foundations of preschool. These early constructs translate into body awareness and how we move and conduct ourselves.
We live in an AMAZING age. The examples above are barely the tip of the iceberg. However, do not allow the vastness of the reality to overwhelm the opportunity of the moment. Kids aren’t feeling the same stress as parents and teachers – they are growing up with educational apps! We need to accept the reality and make the best of it. Only God knows how far learning can go. Thankfully He is still in control.