Edutainment: the battle of concerns

19/04/2015 | Add comment

Back when mobile devices really started to become popular, if you were teenage back then you were lucky if your parents let you get one. They were seen as nothing more than just an expensive gadget which would eventually just be hidden away and barely be touched. Here we are a few short years later and things have changed, however. A recent study indicated that around 75% of children under the age of eight years actually use mobile devices on a regular basis. This is a crazy number. However, it does beg the question, is this too young?

The obvious fact currently is that the world is going through a period of change. And that is not that evident that the mobile devices actually are becoming popular now. It’s something new that is in sight. Mobile devices are becoming default in one’s household. Children need to learn how to use technology early on in their life. Computers and the like are a key part of business now but also of education’s system in many (developed) countries world-wide. If you do not know how to perform simple operations on a computer then you are going to be overlooked when you apply for a job. In fact, many people nowadays are being turned away from positions that they may otherwise have been qualified for simply because they do not know how to use the most simple of software. This is the type of world that children will be entering in the future, and they need to be able to cope. In fact, they need to learn how to cope even more with the technology in the future as businesses come to rely on it more and more.

So in short, children should get started using mobile devices as soon as possible, from the point when they understand the purpose of the phones, tablets, watches etc. It’s up to the parent to decide the matter and the time of usage of these devices by their kids. They will then start to build up a skill set which they will use throughout the rest of their life. It is, however, important to note that the child should not constantly be flicking around on the mobile device. There are other skills out there that need to be learned. Adults should ensure that their child spends no more than an hour or so a day playing about on the mobile device. There is a big world out there to discover and you do not want the child to just play about with technology all day.

When the child is using the mobile phone you should ensure that they are using it for educational purposes besides the entertainment purpose. There are many edutainment applications for smartphones and tablets today (that give the sense of of education through entertainment). These applications are designed to provide fun for the child, whilst at the same time delivering a decent education. They seem to be pretty effective too. Remember, most kids do not enjoy learning. Make it a game and they will not even realize that they are doing it! Many schools out there nowadays seem to be incorporating edutainment into their curriculum, so it is very much a proven technique. People remember images and sounds.

As mentioned previously, mobile education should not be the only way for a child to learn. It should form just a fraction of their learning experience. Traditional methods should still be utilized, but those parents and teachers who do not start children on mobile devices as soon as possible are doing a massive disservice to the child. They are absolutely vital as a form of education.

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