Saturday, July 20, 2013

Using Technology to Avoid the Summer Slump

By Sean Scarpiello

Within the past few years, there have been many studies looking at how summer vacation impacts learning. In each of these studies, students who practiced their math and grammar skills a little each day during the summer go on to do better in school. With all of this in mind, it is important to remember that this responsibility falls on parents. Elementary school students will not have the motivation to put an hour of each summer day towards worksheets. As a parent, it is already difficult to get children to do even a little bit of school work after they have had a school year full of it. However, with the dawn of technology, this task is becoming easier and easier.

When I was younger, my mother assigned a few pages of math to do each weekday during my summer break. Although I hated it back then, and she hated fighting with me over the work, it was for the better. Back then, the internet was in its initial stages of development, so we had to go out and buy a workbook of math problems designed for whichever grade in school I had just completed. These days, there are tons of websites that offer free worksheets for teachers, students, and parents. Now, with technologies such as iPads, laptops, and others, parents can simply pull up these worksheets and open them up in apps, and assign the work to their children. This makes the parent’s job easier, by simply logging onto the internet and finding a few worksheets. Also, the work isn’t as bad for students, as they will have a fun time using a stylus or their finger to solve math problems on a tablet or computer screen.

In addition to this, parents could even substitute formal worksheets of math problems with some of the new interactive education technologies. With programs such as LeapFrog or, parents can assign an hour of games such as Math Baseball and more. This gets students to more willingly practice math and grammar by giving them a fun and purposeful way to learn. Plus, students can try to beat their own score and challenge themselves. They are much less likely to do this with black and white worksheets that feel monotonous and tedious to complete.

Many schools also assign required summer reading books. Studies have as shown that these books are beneficial to students. However, not all schools assign them, so it is often up to parent to assign readings. It can be easy to assign or extend a child’s summer reading using technology. eBooks are available at reduced costs online and can be easily accessible to anyone with an iPad, Kindle, or other tablet or laptop. Plus, many children’s books come with fully illustrated pages. Some eBooks even come with interactive parts of stories where students can become even more actively involved with the characters and plot.

In all, while many education professionals agree that continued education during the summer months is beneficial, it is important for parents to supplement their children’s education during this time. With all of the resources available at low or no cost online, parents can easily find and check worksheets for their children to complete in math and grammar. Also, students are also benefiting from the technology, as their assignments do not have to be limited to tedious math worksheets. Instead, they can now have vivid and interactive assignments at their fingertips, allowing them to enjoy completing summer assignments.

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