While many people fear what kids will do when given an iPad or other piece of tech on break, there is a lot more you can do than just sit there and consume. While this has nothing to do with high school tech integration, many high school teachers have kids who are young and needing of some stuff to do over break that can also be somewhat educational. And I am not talking about digital flashcards but things that are a lot better than just sitting there and consuming media.
The following are 3 of the top tech related things that almost anyone can do very easily if you have an iPad or other mobile device.
- This is a very simple app that you can download to pretty much any mobile device that can turn a simple coloring page into an interactive and entertaining activity. You print off the coloring page, coloring it however you want and then use the app on your mobile device to see what happens next. The animal cell page is a free one that I did with my son the other day and when you look through the app using the camera on your device, you see a 3D object that you can rotate and adjust. Some of the pages even include interactive components like dancing, songs, or a playable game using what you drew. There are a lot of free pages to start with, all you need is a printer and the app to get started. There are some great ones for the holidays.
- This is a great app where you get to play a video game level based on what you draw, you actually get to design the level you play. You download the page you need to print out, use the key to draw structures on the paper and plan out your level. When you have everything ready, you just use the app to “scan” the page and soon after that you can play the level that you just designed.
- One of the parts I really like about this is the problem solving aspect that is built in. If you do not design your level correctly, you won’t be able to complete it. Kids have to plan ahead and design a level that can be challenging but also needs to be one that they can complete. They can even have others play their level or play others that people have made. There are a lot of free features, some features you might have to pay for but you can do so much with just the free part.
- This is the only one that I have not tested out myself with my own kid, but I have talked to so many parents and educators about how kids have used Minecraft to do some great things. You build and plan out what you want to do using the resources you have and there is so much that you can do. While one of my favorite stories involves a student using Minecraft to recreate the famed Globe Theatre for his assignment in his Language Arts class, there are a lot of things you can do with Minecraft and there is a large community of educators who love it in their classroom, K-12.
- There are a lot of ways you can play Minecraft from installing it on your own server to just downloading an app on your mobile device. The key is to let the kid play with it and build what they want and explore what they can do.
While these are three of my favorites, there are many other ways you can use mobile devices to engage your kids as learners instead of just letting them consume. The key is to engage them in those ideas of creation, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. Yes we can do this without technology, but we also have so many ways we can do this with technology too. You do not just have to do one or the other.