It’s pretty clear that it’s up to us parents to insure our children get the best education possible. All you hear these days is how far the United States is lagging behind the rest of the developed world in standardized test scores, which is causing a ripple effect in the amount of kids who go on to graduate college, and the pay those kids can expect to earn when they enter the workforce. Of course, when you’re sitting on the nursery floor going over the alphabet with your toddler their future career is probably the farthest thing from your mind. And there’s no reason to panic about something that you really can’t control. But what you can do is use all the tools at your disposal to get your child excited about learning, and to give him the most well-rounded educational experience possible. And thanks to technology, there is now a wide range of best-selling educational software that helps do just that.
But how exactly does educational software benefit our children? After all, most of us didn’t have access to anything like that, and we turned out just fine. But today almost every household in America has a computer, and kids are learning to use them at younger and younger ages. It’s not that odd to see a child still in kindergarten playing around on an iPad, or easily navigating the remote control to get to their favorite television stations. Take advantage of that interest by putting educational games in front of them. After all, computers are here to stay, and the countries that are pulling ahead on educational measures all use computers in their schools a significant amount.
One of the great benefits of using software for education is that it gives your child the power to control the experience. They can create the pace at which they learn, which will keep them invested and reduce the frustration they may feel at failure. They can play the games at a comfortable level, and then you can nudge them to increase the challenge as they gain experience. Educational software also pushes children to utilize a wider range of senses than simple flash cards or book reading. Working the controls increases hand-eye coordination, while they interact through sight, sound and touch. And because they are so engaged, they’re often able to concentrate and focus in on the work to a much deeper degree.
Children are naturally creative. Their imaginations run wild, and they are often at their most content when building imaginary fortresses, telling stories, creating art or playacting at far-flung scenarios. Educational software triggers much of this creativity due to the wide range of game play styles available. They can join their favorite characters from books or television on educational adventures. They can learn through drawing, or choosing the path various characters take through the story. The interactivity is hugely appealing to their imaginations, making it a powerfully effective way to learn.
Finally, kids grow and develop in other important ways that aren’t covered by traditional book learning. Since educational software is often built upon solving puzzles or besting levels, children can learn cause and effect and gain problem-solving skills that they might not have developed until much further down the line. The self-confidence that develops as kids figure out these problems for themselves is hugely important, as are the social skills that can come from playing online with friends or other kids from all around the world. And since most of the time all it takes is a computer quick enough to run a VLC media player or basic software bundle, almost anyone with a computer can find educational software their kids will love. Of course you don’t want their whole experience to revolve around the computer, but as a resource to bring in along with traditional learning, educational software really can’t be beat.