Mobileread
Guiding a child's first interactions with an ebook reader
#1  jago25_98 09-10-2019, 01:15 PM
I teach and do some private tutoring. I really despise having to print everything out and storage for books is an absolute nightmare.

I've tried to teach with an ipad though a few times and it really isn't as good. Obviously the first thing is that the kid gets distracted by the interactivity of the screen. The next thing is that even the older kids don't actually learn as well with the ipad for some reason. Perhaps knowing that the information on the screen is transient causes them to assign less importance to it, perhaps it's the LCD screen, I don't know. I do know that I prefer to work on paper too. Somehow, writing things out tends to help me remember things. As a compromise I often write notes on a whiteboard or whitebook and then take a photo for records instead.

My question is this:
Is there anything I can to improve kid's interactions with screens? Would an eink screen with no touch interaction any better than an ipad?
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#2  ekbell 09-10-2019, 11:33 PM
I think that the main problem when using a tablet for the first time as a learning aid (assuming that the tablet is an dedicated one with minimal distractions available) is simply the novelty. The reader may simply be paying too much attention to the mechanics of turning the pages and playing with the settings to retain information. Providing more practice with shorter high-interest material may be all that's needed. Something as simple as dressing up the tablet differently then the ones the child may be accustomed to play games on may also be useful as associations can be powerful things.

I had a tablet and read to my youngest daughter from it when she was a toddler, later on I passed down the outdated tablet to her so that she could read books on it (no games and WiFi disabled) and she has no problems concentrating when reading it (she's now eight).

My older children also quickly became used to their ereaders although they have had problems with the fragility of ereader screens (I wouldn't recommend a ereader unless you are sure that the children will be reasonably careful). They do prefer paper books but if reading the Wizard of Oz books requires using an ereader then an ereader will be used.

I do not think that tablets or particularly ereaders are particularly comfortable devices for taking notes on without a keyboard, although a stylus can improve matters. While I do use a tablet for personal study I have a separate notebook for my notes. Anything essay length is really best done with a keyboard.
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#3  barryem 09-11-2019, 10:43 PM
I have a neighbor in my retirement home who gets a lot of visits from her 8 year old grandson. He has an Ipad and is pretty proficient with it and she knows I'm kind of technically oriented so when he has questions she sends him to me. I've never really tried to teach him anything beyond answering his questions but I have watched him use the Ipad a few times. He'll often play games but he also seems to enjoy reading comics and children's books. I've never influenced him in this. He just does it, presumably because he enjoys it.

As I read the OP's post I began to wonder if his/her distaste for teaching with tablets is coming through to the students and discouraging them. I'm certainly not a qualified teacher but I did work with VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) teaching 3rd graders who hadn't learned to read yet, to read. That was long before tablets were invented. One thing I learned was that my enthusiasm was important.

Maybe I'm misreading the post or maybe the frustration expressed wasn't there while teaching but I think it's worth considering.

Barry
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#4  Apache 09-12-2019, 09:13 AM
Teaching kids anything takes a lot of work. You can not force a child to like doing things and expect them to continue when you are not around. It can also push them away from the goals you have set. Teaching children works best if they enjoy being there. Turning the task into a series of games or simple challenges makes it fun and they will strive harder. If it is not fun they will get bored and will stop trying. Using humor while teaching also works, but you can not let the humor take over. It takes a lot of work to teach children to think and strive. It is also worth it to you, the child and society.
Apache
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#5  jago25_98 09-13-2019, 01:59 PM
Well, I enjoy using tablets but it's my job to get the kids reading rather than get them addicted to the ipad.

I love tech but the culture here is anti tech with kids. I think that's with good reason as possibly we don't know how to handle screens properly yet... I guess education here being almost completely techless is better than western countries like the USA.
But I love tech and maybe they can sense that, which could be influencing them.

There are different problems though. For very young kids they find the interactive screen really interesting. For older kids they seem to just not really absorb the information as effectively... but you're right, that could be my preconceptions seeping through. I mean, I guess to figure this out you'd need double blind experiments and everything.

Quote barryem

As I read the OP's post I began to wonder if his/her distaste for teaching with tablets is coming through to the students and discouraging them. I'm certainly not a qualified teacher but I did work with VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) teaching 3rd graders who hadn't learned to read yet, to read. That was long before tablets were invented. One thing I learned was that my enthusiasm was important.

Maybe I'm misreading the post or maybe the frustration expressed wasn't there while teaching but I think it's worth considering.

Barry
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#6  Pajamaman 09-13-2019, 02:30 PM
Maybe assign a certain time tonallow them to explore the device, and keep that separate from the learning time assigned to a specific goal. It can be a reward thing.
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#7  jago25_98 09-14-2019, 01:37 AM
Quote Pajamaman
Maybe assign a certain time tonallow them to explore the device, and keep that separate from the learning time assigned to a specific goal. It can be a reward thing.
hmm, yes. I'm kinda started doing that, in a way.

Just the other day I gave an old phone to a student who's already used an ipad.... but has a lot of limitations on when he can use this ipad as he was completely addicted before. But the old phone only has one app on it and it's fully educational, for spelling only. I don't know how this is really going to work out. Hopefully it'll be alright. Worst case scenario, he bypasses all my restrictions and raids my Google Play account credit card!
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#8  gmw 09-14-2019, 04:14 AM
I think your comment about the transient nature of the information on the screen is important, but reverse it: there is an expectation in our modern lives that information will always be there. I think our brains instinctively categorise a lot of information (especially that read off screens) as unimportant (don't need to remember) because (we assume) if we ever need it again we can just bring it back up.

Of course, any of us that have been around for a while know that information on devices really can be transient. Some stuff hangs around an embarrassingly long time, other stuff disappears or gets lost amidst the deluge of our modern information-heavy society.

To counter this (and the technique applies well to paper as well) requires constant testing. Not in the nature of "here's a test, kids", but in questions or puzzles or other activities that entice the participant to recall what they've just learned - very soon after reading it, and then again later. This becomes an "I'm gonna need this information" trigger than helps our minds push the data into long term storage.

Note that even just structuring the presentation correctly can provide the same effect as explicit questions. (Crime/mystery novels offer an example: pay attention to the details as they go past and you can solve the crime with the main protagonist.)


Think of that old saying: use it or lose it. Make it so the participant is using the information they are learning and they will keep it; conversely, if you just keep loading up more information without ever using it then the person will discard it as irrelevant.
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#9  Nausicaa 09-16-2019, 01:32 PM
Why don't you just print it?
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#10  leebase 09-17-2019, 03:25 PM
I suppose if you gave me a book AND a rubik's cube or <insert your childhood favorite time waster here>, you'd have a problem with my attention span on the book. Unless I was VERY interested in the book.

I don't think there is a "transience of information" issue at play. There is PLAY at play. You can do so many fun things with a tablet....most of any of them more fun than reading school texts for many kids.

Apple/Google have a long way to go in implementing some kind of "school mode" that would restrict a device to "desired use cases only" for "desire time periods" such that their "device of endless entertainment" could more effectively be a learning tool.

Mind you....I wasted PLENTY of time and found endless ways to be distracted when I was going to school back in the stone ages.

Give me an iPad back then, and a computer with access to the internet....I'd have had marketable skills before graduating high school. I liked to learn even as a child. I'd have read a LOT of books on an iPad.
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