Tech for Summer Learning

Keeping young minds engaged through multimedia.

By Sharon Oddy on July 22, 2013

Going to pool parties, watching fireworks and catching fireflies are likely on the wish list for many children free from their daily school commitment. Parents, on the other hand, may want to infuse learning into their child’s summer vacation. Whether looking to reinforce the three Rs or embrace the learning evident in summer exploration, one thing is for certain, technology can help.

Robert Castellano, principal of J.P. Case Middle School in Flemington, NJ, recommends going back to the basics to avoid the inevitable summer slide. “We want children to engage in literature and writing because ultimately everything revolves around reading and writing,” he said.

He points to apps like Book Writer and Super Duper Story Maker as a fun and interactive way to get children engaged in summer learning by having them use technology to create something of personal interest.

BookWriter, for instance, allows users to create an interactive story book online. Children can upload pictures and videos and include text to tell a story. Appropriate for children of all ages, the app even allows you to upload voice recordings.

Or course, the summer slide goes beyond reading and writing. Research shows that most students also lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. For that, Castellano recommends the Kakooma suite of apps for addition, negatives, multiplication and fractions. The 24 game app reinforces basic math principles in a fun and competitive way, while Dragon Box teaches the concepts of algebra.

And, since summer is a great time for adventures and exploration, the Amazing Science Facts app provides strange, funny and interesting tidbits that will help bring out budding scientists.

“Technology brings an added dimension to learning because it enables teaching to happen 24 hours a day, every day,” Castellano said. “It’s evident in the summer and all year long because students have instant access to information, videos, pictures and articles, within seconds. For students and educators, that’s powerful.”