Every day, people are downloading apps and software for a myriad of reasons. One of those reasons is to support learning and development. In this blog post, we will discuss how technology can be used as a tool to support different aspects of learning including engagement & motivation, independent learning, collaboration, creativity, educational needs (SEN), attainment
Engagement and motivation:
An important factor in any individuals learning is engagement and motivation. An acronym to remember this could be SMART (engage, motivate, remind and top up)
There are many ways that technology can help with this; by providing relevant information that supports an individuals development using media such as e-books or audiobooks. There are a number of audiobook sites available including Audible, The Storyline network and audiobooks.com. These provide a range of audiobooks covering a plethora of subject areas from education to business, sports and action-adventure fiction.
Another way that technology can be used in this area is in the form of motivational apps. Apps can be used to motivate individuals in order to provide stimulation, break down tasks into manageable chunks, providing rewards and also feedback. There are a number of different apps available for download including Fitness Tracking apps such as run keeper & Nike + GPS running app which uses satellite tracking to track the user's progress during their run. This data is then displayed on an iPhone or iPod once the user has completed their run. The user can set goals for themselves within the app which allows them to monitor their progress throughout their fitness program. Another example of a motivational app would be one called 'Lifeline'. This uses a video game format to allow the user to feel like they are actually in the game and taking part in the story.
During their time at school, individuals will be given opportunities to teach themselves a range of new skills and topics. Having an interest or knowledge about a subject can be a huge contributing factor in individuals' levels of achievement. Finding ways to promote independent learning can prove difficult for some, especially if they do not have the right resources. Technology has evolved over time and become accessible to more people on a day-to-day basis.
Many educational apps have been developed to promote independent learning. There are a number of apps available which can be used for a variety of different reasons. Some apps have been created to support learners in their classroom environment by providing useful tools such as homework checkers. The app is provided as a website that allows the user to check the progress of their work from any computer with internet access.
Some apps have been created specifically for those who are not in school to learn new things, often these types of learning take place at home or during leisure time. An example app that has been created is called Bookworm which allows users to play a game against a timer and find out how many book titles they can read in a certain period of time. These types of Apps support the user's desire to learn new things and encourage individuals to explore different areas of their interest.
Collaboration is obviously an important factor in individuals' learning as it can be hard to self-learn alone, which is why it is important for teachers and parents to help as much as possible. Technology can be used as a tool for collaboration by providing online tools such as Wikis and social media such as Facebook and Twitter which can facilitate communication between users. These tools can then be used on their own or within the coursework.
Collaboration apps have been created for this purpose and are available through app stores such as the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Some examples of these collaboration apps would be a web-based tool called 'Social Networking' which allows teachers and students to submit work individually or collectively to a central repository. You can also find an article on how to use social networking in education on our blog, which is referred to above.
When it comes to learning, creativity can be an extremely important factor. All learners are different, some like tasks that are formal and structured, while others like more open-ended activities. They will all benefit from having access to both types of learning in order for them to develop their skills in all areas of the curriculum.
There are many different types of apps that can be used to support creativity. Some examples include drawing apps which are available for both iOS and Android platforms. Apps such as Scratch allow individuals the chance to create their own animations, games and graphics. Another type of app that can be used for creativity is one called Pic Collage which allows the user to combine images into a collage then share this with friends. Many of these apps are provided by companies that have specialised in mobile device technology or provide education-based apps for school use.
The use of technology in learning can be quite simple or complex, depending on the device that is being used. Whatever the level of technology involved may be, the main important factor is the desire to use it and access it within a learning environment.