Technological breakthroughs in communication and electronic gadgets have not only invaded personal lives but are now also part of the fabric of education. iPads, iPhones, iPod and Android based devices are not only pieces of handheld gadgets that offer amazing benefits from communication to entertainment, but these products have also become important educational tools as well. At the current pace where more school, colleges, and universities are requiring students to have an iPad or tablets of any operating system, it is inevitable that soon, it will become universal as part of educational requirements. This brings us to the question if it is alright for pre-schoolers to use the iPad mini as a learning instruction tool.
Possible Basis of Using iPad Mini for Preschoolers
In a recent study conducted by appsinmypocket.com, it was revealed that more than 80 percent among respondents are supportive of the idea of using iPads as a learning tool in elementary and pre-school education. In addition, 18 percent of pre-school institutions have already started or are in trial mode using this gadget to teach kids in the pre-school level. More and more people are getting convinced that iPad technology should be introduced to kids at an appropriate age, in this case, preschool years.
As a learning tool, the iPad mini has several things to offer such as:
- Customised learning – kids and students have different levels and capacity when it comes to learning. Thus, the teacher can prepare apps and materials through this device that is student specific based on the learning needs of the learner.
- Suitable for different degrees of attention span – with so many apps that can be downloaded free or with a fee, the teacher or even parents can give kids stimulating iPad moments where it addresses kid’s short span of attention and at the same time incorporate the learning process.
- Enhance creative process – there are numerous interactive apps that can be used where kids can simulate basic learning activities like reading, writing, and counting. More specific apps like dance apps, children’s books, and sound and speaking apps can help enhance what kids learn in school.
Despite the huge benefits kids, teachers, and parents can gain with the iPad mini as a preschool learning tool, there are several reasons why a number of people are not convinced that this gadget should be introduced to kids.
- It is tantamount to substituting traditional learning environment from a teacher to student interaction into a student to gadget dependability. However, one must take note that the gadget is used only as one of the learning aids teachers can opt to in the same manner that blackboards, flipcharts, videos, and books are utilised.
- Kids might accidentally tap on apps or content with adult or other sensitive material. But with so many free applications on child lock and material filtering, this can be addressed easily.
- It will be another financial burden for parents when it is part of pre-school requirements. The argument here is that learning benefits are not quantifiable.
- Kids are still too young to be exposed with complicated gadgets. The flaw on this logic is that pre-school kids will not view it as a gadget but rather as a toy. With the right guidance by both parents and teachers, kids can learn many things just like they learn how to bounce ball, shoot a gun, and take care of dolls, among others, with their usual toys.
- Increased dependency to short attention span activities and high stimulation activities.
The iPad mini and other similar products are dynamic gadgets. It is not surprising that a rising number of academic institutions and professionals will look at it as an excellent learning tool for their students. Although there are upsides and downsides to its usage, just like other learning tools, it is up for the teacher to determine which of these learning tools are appropriate in a specific learning environment and for how far to integrate them.