Nowadays kids take rather more than packed lunches and books to school with them. From mobile phones and blu ray devices to Toshiba laptops and USB drives, they’re fully wired up and the kit they carry about with them on a daily basis can amount to a tidy little sum.
The problem in the past used to be kids misplacing their trainers or homework but now parents rightly worry that their accident-prone child is going to accidentally offload their smartphone or portable DVD player rather than just a pen or ruler as of yore.
Nonetheless, there are a few sensible steps parents can take when choosing technology items which kids these days seemingly can’t manage without.
With laptops, for instance, you can try to get them one with a solid-state drive which has no moving parts and can put up with all sorts of rough treatment without crashing and go for a spill-proof keyboard wherever possible too. Smaller screens are less prone to breakage than larger ones and a netbook might actually be a better idea than a laptop in that respect.
You should make sure that it has all the antivirus and anti-malware programs loaded as well because kids typically frequent sites that are dubious to say the least and which are adept at spreading infections. Kids also need to be taught about the dangers of opening email attachments and links and of visiting suspicious-looking websites.
You can get a proper laptop bag for the machine to carry it separately from books, pens and other school-related equipment to reduce the chance of damage. If parents and kids share the same machine, password protection is also a must; with kids the fine line between curiosity and downright invasion of privacy is often blurred.
If mobile phones have their own cases and preferably be attached to a belt rather than shoved into a back pocket, that would help too. We may try installing specialist software so that should the device be lost or stolen it can easily be tracked.
As with all such devices, kids need to be warned about the risks of web surfing and even of chatting online with friends. With cyber bullying, malware and phishing rife in the online world, using a mobile phone can be as risky as using a regular PC and in fact more so because of its sheer convenience.
Encrypted USB drives
You can pay a small amount extra to have a computer’s USB drives encrypted, to protect things like school assignments that could be lifted by someone else and passed off as their own effort. A password will protect any data on the machine so that only the rightful owner can access it.
Best practice when using technology can result in valuable lifelong habits, such as keeping a close eye on all devices when out and about and making regular backups of all important data. Many of us fail the test here, so it’s doubly important that our kids get it right.
As you may know, I and my colleague Demet Küyük have been developing mobile applications that are created by children. You can check several of them here!
For next year, we are planning to develop a new educational application. It will be a digital storytelling app that will be student – generated. For this, we will need some pictures that are drawn by children themselves.
So, if your students are 6 to 10 years old and if you would like to be a part of this iPhone/iPad/Android application/ project with your students, please mail me here: email@example.com
I will be sending you the details on a seperate e-mail.
We are looking forward to collaborating with you!
TodaysMeet is a backchannel which means to have an online and real time conversation. It is like an online chat room where everyone can send messages and interact with each other.
You don’t need to sign up to use this tool. Simply, name your room and decide on how long the data will be saved. Then, share the link of your room with others so that they can participate.
Each participant follows the link, write their names or nicknames and start talking. You don’t need to register or download a software to use this tool. The tool is also ad free which makes it more powerful.
A few ideas to use this tool in class:
As the students are presenting a project or a topic to each other, they can post their questions on TodaysMeet so that when the presentation is over, the questions can be answered.
Students can write their feedback or their reflections about lesson/ presentation/ activity or a story that they have read.
In groups, they can write a dialogue.
Students can brainstorm about a topic.
You can hold a debate using this tool.
I think, this simple tool can be a nice and an easy step to mobile learning in the classroom!
If you want to add fun and joy to your lesson with some music, here is a great web tool for this! It’s called LyricsGaps. With this tool, you can watch and listen a song, fill in the gaps of the lyrics using different tools.
There are hundreds of songs that you can choose from in different languages. When you find your song, you choose a game mode. It can be karaoke, where students sing the song in a karaoke mode. You can choose the quiz, where the lyrics of the songs are in a multiple quiz form. Here, students listen and choose the correct words in the lyrics. Or, you can choose a level among beginner, intermediate or expert and the lyrics of the words come again like a quiz where the words are in a drop down menu. As the students listen to the song, they choose the right words.
You can also create a teacher’s account and create your own quizzes for your students with the words that you have chosen. When you are done, you can share the customized quiz with your students.
Also, when you click on any word, it gives you the definition of it which makes this tool much better!
How to use this tool:
Choose different level of songs for your students and let them try different game modes.
Let your students create their own games modes for each other.
Have a kareoke party in class!
Enjoy singing and listening the songs!