Raising Kids in the Digital Age
So far we have been a bit hesitant to introduce our four year old daughter to apps and computer games because they can easily take time away from physical activity or face to face interaction. Common Sense Media, my favourite go-to website for resources about children and the digital age, shows how technology can be used as a teaching tool for preschoolers.
- Keep it interactive. The way a digital tool is used is as important as the tool itself; adult-child interaction should be emphasized. Rather than putting on a television show or handing over your smartphone and walking away, create a dialogue. Sit and discuss what you are seeing, ask questions, encourage imaginative ways to explore similar subjects in the outside world.
- Match use with age. Children’s needs change as they develop. Any media use with infants and toddlers should be an interactive experience with adults, such as reading an ebook together; older preschool children may enjoy exploring a touch screen or using video to record and view their play.
- Have fun, stay engaged. Children’s media and technology are best when they support active, hands-on, creative, and authentic engagement with the people and world around them. Look for games, websites, and apps that encourage outdoor activity, healthy eating, critical thinking, and other real-world skills.
- Promote digital literacy. By modeling appropriate use of digital media, adults can help children learn to use the wealth of tools at their disposal in smart, healthy ways that complement their growth and give them greater access to the opportunities of the digital age.
This advice can be applied to technology use for children of any age, and in any language.
Technology and Bilingual Education
Technology, just like TV in Spanish, when used correctly can be a great way to increase language exposure for bilingual kids.
Technology increases language input and can get a child excited about language learning…because it’s entertaining kids aren’t as apt to notice that they’re “working” at language acquisition.
From Dr. Naoimi Steiner’s 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child.
Like most kids these days my little one has been exposed to touch screens since she was a baby, but our laptop with its non-touch screen, keyboard and mouse pad have only recently begun to pique her interest. She has typed “stories” in Word and drawn 90’s style masterpieces in Paint, but I think she will soon realize that the non-touch screen device has other uses, so we’ll need to be prepared with a list of amazing and educational games that can also be played in Spanish.
We don’t have an iPhone or iPad, so unfortunately I can’t try out some of the apps that are available for those devices, but you can check out the links below to see what other bloggers have to say.
Games and Apps in Spanish
SpanglishBaby has a great list of Educational Apps for bilingual kids. I am especially interested in the Spanish-language games that PBS Kids recently launched, I have already played a few myself, and I’m sure that our daughter will enjoy the Cat in the Hat section.