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Teaching in the Time of Tech

boy with lightbulb above head - smallIt’s undeniable – technology has quickly become the way of the world. Luckily, this wave of innovation introduces countless new ways to learn and teach. Mastering early school skills like fractions and spelling has never been easier thanks to the plethora of educational apps offered by iTunes and on the web. However, for every awesome, informative, engaging app, there are twenty poorly made ones. To start navigating that confusing jumble, try out these interesting, high-rated, and well-made educational games! Motion Math Developed at the Stanford School of Education, Motion Math challenges learners to help a star travel back up to its home in the sky by placing fractions in the appropriate position along a number line. With colorful scenery that rises from the ground to space as the star reaches higher in the sky, Motion Math engages young learners and motivates them to keep playing! Progress stars, sound effects and congratulatory exclamations encourage players throughout the game. The app can be played by learners as young as 4, but with increasingly challenging levels, even parents can enjoy playing a round or two! Further, if a player is really struggling, the app gives increasingly helpful hints to guide him or her towards the correct place on the number line. Fractions are a critical building block for more advanced forms of math encountered in later schooling but are a notoriously difficult area. This is partially because fractions can appear in so many different forms! With Motion Math, learners estimate a variety of representations – numerator over denominator, percent, decimal, and pie charts. Over time, Motion Math teaches a fast, accurate perception of fractions. Analogies 4 KidsKids with Laptop - small Analogy is to skill as dog is to … the point is, analogies are hard, no question about it. Luckily, Analogies 4 Kids presents an engaging way to introduce comparison to young learners. With bright backgrounds and silly images, this app presents one relationship and gives one side of a comparable relationship with four options for the other side of the relationship. For example, the first relationship might be “up : down”, with the clue “In : ?” and the three options “out, under, over, and off.” In addition to word analogies such as this one, there are also picture analogies. The app is designed for kids ages 4-14, but according to reviews, parents and even grandparents enjoy playing it too! Analogies tend to be a key skill covered in gifted and talented programs as well as placement tests. With three levels of difficulty and 450 analogy questions, Analogies 4 Kids is the perfect way for your little ones to master comparisons. Further, the app teaches visual awareness, problem solving, analytical thinking, perception, and spatial skills. BrainPOP Featured Movie Whether your kids are interested in science, math, writing, or anything else, BrainPOP has something to offer them. Every day, BrainPOP features a different animated movie with subjects related to science, social studies, English, math, arts and music, engineering and tech, and health. After watching the video, they get the opportunity to test their new knowledge with an interactive quiz! The app is designed for 9-11 year olds, but even high schoolers and adults have reviewed the app very favorably. With a wide array of subject matter and quizzes to re-enforce the information presented, BrainPOP is a great way to incorporate learning into your child’s everyday routine in an exciting, engaging way. For younger children, try BrainPOP Jr. Trade the Screen for the Sun… While technology is amazing and apps like these are revolutionizing education, spending too much time on a screen isn’t healthy for growing boys and  girls (or their parents)! After a few games, send your kids outside to play, get dirty, and have fun in the sun, all with the protection of TruKid’s SPF Sunny Day’s Sport Sunscreen!

Now… get out and play!

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