Tools for Learning to Learn

7. January 2016 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

It's a lot easier to teach kids if learning is fun; these tools and toys are helping kids learn math and programming.

1 + 1 = Fun

Math and LEGOs are two things you might not expect to find together in the average classroom. One is an area of study that many people find intimidating; the other, a beloved children's toy. This 3rd grade teacher found a fruitful way of bringing the two together in her classroom.

LEGOs and fractions
Image via Scholastic.

Alycia Zimmerman admits that she wasn't fond of LEGOs as a child. The blocks' rigid design never appealed to her. Her opinion of LEGOs changed, however, when she discovered how effective they could be in teaching mathematical concepts to her students. "As a third grade teacher, I've spent hours and hours drawing arrays, modeling how to skip-count with arrays, deconstructing arrays, and building arrays with a myriad of tiny things," Zimmerman says. "Having a collection of LEGO pieces on hand during multiplication lessons is so useful. I whip a few out to reinforce the area model, to demonstrate square numbers, and to remind my students about the commutative property of multiplication."

Preschool Programmers

There's no disputing that computer code has become the most important language of the Digital Age. The question is when students should learn to code. If you ask the folks at Fisher-Price, the answer is, right away. Students could get started with coding as soon as preschool.

Image via Gizmodo.

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, the renowned toy maker debuted the Code-a-Pillar. This adorable little app-assisted device was designed to teach young children the fundamentals of coding. Although the full specs won't be revealed until the 2016 Toy Fair in February, Fisher-Price promises that the device will help develop students' thinking and problem-solving skills, and get them started in some fundamentals of sequencing.

Familiar Lessons

This being an election year, the successes and shortcomings of current educational techniques are likely to be mentioned often. What should never be forgotten is the students' eagerness to learn. The tools of study evolve, but the goal of passing on information remains ever the same.

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