Smartphone for online learning | 10 ways your smartphone can help children learn | FAQs - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Smartphone for online learning | 10 ways your smartphone can help children learn | FAQs


The onset of a pandemic, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the lives of people across nations. This, no doubt has affected the education system. As much as we are strongly making sure that we would not send our children to schools and colleges, it is needless to say that online learning seems to be the only plausible option.

Not everyone can afford expensive laptops and tablets. In this situation, a smartphone seems to be a good option to make use of online learning.

In this article, I have planned to give a complete guide to parents so that they can evaluate and decide if a smartphone is a good option for online learning for their wards.

Smartphones can help children learn online:

Lately, of course, out of necessity I began my search to understand if a smartphone is useful and capable to help my children learn online. As you all know by now, I am a mother of three kids. So online learning for all three of them means buying three extra gadgets. I can't buy three different laptops. 

First, it is a complete lockdown in India. Second I don’t have enough finance to purchase three laptops in one go when globally and nationally we all are having such an economic crisis.

So I decided to do my research on smartphones which I have planned to share in this blog so that parents like me can find some pocket friendly yet effective alternatives. Please check my FAQ section in this article where I have listed exhaustive lists of questions with answers regarding smartphone usage for online learning. I am sure most of the doubts would be cleared. In case, you have any more doubts or clarity needed, please feel free to list them in the comment section.


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Smartphone for online learning

However, before we check and decide to purchase or make use of existing smartphones that we have with us, let us see how smartphones can help children learn in an online platform.

10 ways how a smartphone can help children learn online:

#1. REMAIN CONNECTED

Smartphones help us to stay connected with our peers as well as assignments any time anywhere. Whereas the psychological benefits are evident that I have discussed later in this article, it is important to understand that smartphones help students to stay connected with their projects, tasks, and assignments.

Students can make use of online DROPBOX or even make sure of Google docs which gives absolute flexibility to read, write, and update documents online.

#2. RECORD CLASSES

Recording classes is a very good option for children. There are times that students might miss a part of the lecture due to un-mindfulness or loss of connectivity. In this situation recording of the classes becomes extremely handy.

Moreover, as parents, we know that every child is not the same. Some children are extremely vocal and social in communicating their concerns; others may be little reserved and shy to ask the facilitator to clarify and repeat the part missed. In this case, video or audio recording options are extremely supportive and effective.

#3. APPS FOR NOTES

Taking notes for classes in online becomes very easy with smartphones. There are numerous apps available in Google Play store which come very handy to take notes easily and quickly.

I have dedicated an entire article on “The best online educational app”. Please visit my page for more details.


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Useful apps for taking notes

Some apps for taking notes that I use would be:


#4. MAKE USE OF PODCASTS

With the popularity of Smartphones, the opportunities to deliver messages and relevant information is a piece of cake!

What are Podcasts?

It is nothing but an audio program.

(For more details on Podcast and how to listen to podcasts, you can check the article in the Guardian).

Podcasts nowadays are growing in popularity to share information, thoughts, and ideas as well as stories of particular interests.


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Podcast for online learning


Almost every topic is covered in podcasts. Students can make use of podcasts and enjoy listening and learning easily. Moreover, podcasts are free. One just needs an internet connection and they get available in numerous apps.

#5. USE OF VIDEO PRESENTATION:

In most of the online programs and classes, sometimes the students might be asked to make video presentations. If our computer does not have a camera or somehow our laptop camera is damaged or in case you don’t have a separate laptop for kids to study online, the best option is a smartphone. It is because, in most of the smartphones that we use today, there is in build camera which produces great quality video without any worries.

#6. KEEP TRACK OF CLASSES

While a physical calendar is extremely useful and handy, but keeping a calendar on your smartphone would be an extremely wise decision to keep track of upcoming projects, assignments, homework, etc.


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Smartphone Calender

With the help of the smartphone calendar, we can set reminders for the children for their due dates for various submissions of papers and their tests from time to time.

I have discussed in-depth useful educational apps for students in a separate article in this blog. 

#7. READ AND LEARN ANYTIME ANYWHERE

That is the uniqueness of online writing! One can read and learn anytime and anywhere. The only thing you need is an internet connection and you are good to go!

I am a person who belongs to the old school of thought. I would prefer printed books rather than EBook apps. However, I cannot deny its popularity and usage. It is indeed extremely helpful these days when children can immediately make use of eBook contents to learn and study faster than waiting for the paperback to be delivered especially when e-commerce and delivery are having a hard-time fulfilling customer demands.


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Read anytime online
Moreover according to a study done by Pew Research in the United States, One out of five Americans often listen to audio-books. This research further strengthens the idea of e-learning in the modern world of today.

#8. GET ANSWERS QUICKLY

When I was writing my papers on Social Science, I had to do a lot of research. I remember running from one Library to another to grab a copy of the reference books suggested by my professor. Most of the time either books were already taken or I would have to sit down in the library and take notes writing. While I cherish those good old days, I would admit and appreciate the boon of having internet and Google Search. You can read through so many journals at any time at the convenience of your home.

Indeed, the ability to learn what we want to learn is empowering and elevating.
What do you think? (Share me your thoughts in comments)

#9. USE OF TIMER

We all have trouble staying focused on assignments, whether parents or children. Sometimes we wait for the panic monster to wake us up at the last moment and we end up catching up tasks in a hurry that results in low quality work or less research-done projects.


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Use Alarm in our smartphone


To avoid such a scenario, it is perhaps a good idea if we can make use of Alarms in our smartphones.

#10. CONTACT TEACHER WITHOUT FEAR OR HESITATION

Like I have already mentioned. Not every child is the same and they need not be the same. Every child is unique. Some may be very pro-active and vocal to voice out their doubts; others might be little hesitant, reluctant, and sometimes even fearful.

Online learning through smartphones become very useful to contact the teacher and facilitator virtually through chats and emails or audio calls.

Apart from the points that I have listed above, there are plenty of other benefits of smartphones.

#PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFIT

There is an atmosphere of stress and anxiety that we all are going through. Children are also affected by this. The social distancing and being away from friends and peers set a feeling of loneliness and depression amongst children.

Online classes are a good platform for providing children an ambiance of healthy learning with peers and friends together. It gives them a mental boost that has positive psychological benefits.

#EMOTIONAL BENEFIT

Have you heard of Emotional Abuse Or Emotional Intelligence? We psychologically social alienation and distancing create an emotional deficiency amongst kids. As much as we as parents hate the idea of our child using the smartphone all the time, let us understand and accept the fact that they could also feel stressed. They need a vent and using a smartphone may be a way out to come out of it. As parents we can restrict the timing for playing games as well as screen time, I admit. However complete denial is not the right option.

In this regard, I cannot hold myself to talk about the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. No doubt! I am her fan from her millions of fans. Her awesome message for the children as she held a special press conference for children was a big hit. It touched people’s hearts.

#INTELLECTUAL BENEFIT

Smartphone gives a tremendous boost for intellectual learning and developments. One gets access to eBooks, encyclopedia, and the whole library of books, and the article seems to be in this pocket fitting device, the smartphone.

As parents, we can always create security and block adult content to enable the use of child-friendly content for the children.

Smartphones also help students to stay alert, focused, and organized and remain connected to concepts at a deeper level.

Now that we have discussed the role and usefulness of Smartphones. Let us check out some of the latest smartphones that we can buy or make available for the children.

Some of the Safest Smartphones for kids would be:


  • Relay Kids Phone Alternative: 4G LTE Nationwide Range, Walkie Talkie Ease, GPS Tracker with Geofencing (Blueberry).
  • Samsung Galaxy Smartphones.
  • Redmi SmartPhones and many more.

Apart from this any good smartphones with the minimum technical specification as mentioned below is a good-to-go option. A lot depends on the usage.


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Smartphone minimum specification for online learning

Keeping in mind the usability from the student’s perspective I could think of the following details:

  • RAM & Storage: 4 GB to 6GB RAM/ 64 to 128 GB internal storage
  • Battery: The More the better (4000-5000 mAh Li-Polymer is good enough)
  • Display: The bigger the better for the eyes.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 439-665 octa-core processor is a good option.
  • Operating System: Android Pie (as it is the latest one available, new apps could be supported easily)
  • Camera: Front Camera 8-13 MPX Back camera (depends on usage preferably 48 MP)
  • Wi-Fi, Hotspot, Bluetooth enabled, and an unlocked phone.

Disclaimer: 

Please note that the specification mentioned above is not a must-have. It all depends on so many factors. For example the age of the child who will be using the smartphone for learning, the affordability (of course), the requirement specific (example the usage of the smartphone for a researcher is different from a child in school). So I would urge all parents to use your choice wisely and not emotionally.

15 FAQs above online learning through a smartphone:

I have added 15 FAQs in this article to address the most common questions that we have in mind while deciding to purchase or allow the use of smartphones for online learning purposes.

#Q1. Are smartphones good for learning?

Yes, it is a good option. Helps social learning and the use of audio and video facility.

#Q2. Can I take online classes on my phone?

Yes of course you can. 

#Q3. How can cell phones help with learning?

Treat online classes as a real course. Use online platforms like applications (apps) and websites to learn.

#Q4. How can mobile devices be used instead of the classroom?

We have many applications like Zoom, Edmodo, Microsoft Team, Google classroom, Google Meet which is extremely user friendly.

#Q5. Do cell phones affect learning?

Yes, it can. We can use it positively for learning and avoid negative usage.

#Q6. How do smartphones affect students?

Please read my article above for more details.

#Q7. What is mobile learning?

Mobile learning also is known as M-learning is education via mobile phone and internet.

#Q8. What are the advantages of mobile learning?

More interactive, use of audio, video, and text with presentations make learning easy and fun.

#Q9. What are the disadvantages of mobile learning?

Mobile addiction and frequent use of smartphones and increasing screen time.

#Q10. How do smartphones help in education?

It can be used as a very smart and effective learning platform especially during the lockdown and the spread of the pandemic, COVID-19.

#Q11. How does cell phone use affect learning?

It all depends on you. You can use it positively for your growth and development. Read the full article mentioned above for more details. On the other hand, you can kill your time unnecessarily by wasting it for social networking and online games that would make your brain ineffective and cripple.

#Q12. How can I use my phone to study?

You can make use of various online apps for learning. YouTube has a host of informative videos. Make use of online learning platforms like Zoom, Edmodo, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, and Google Classroom for more interactive online learning.

#Q13. What is the best way to get rid of distractions like your phone while studying?

Uninstall unnecessary apps, make use of alarm and timers to limit on-screen entertainment times, mute WhatsApp, and other social networking notifications.

#Q14. How can I control my mobile addiction and concentrate on studies?

Self-control is a must. Smartphones can be a smart way to learn and grow. It can be a tool for the destruction of time and energy if you use it against your development. Stay away from unnecessary apps. Keep one or two entertaining apps.

#Q15. How should I balance between studying and using the phone?

You need to stay focused and allocate time for work/learning and entertainment. We need to strike a balance. For this, we need a good planner, a guide that can put us in check.

I hope I was able to help to get you all some positive ideas on how we can use our smartphones for online learning purposes. If I have missed out on any point that you think is important please mention below in the comment section. That way we all can learn and grow and other readers can also provide their valuable inputs. We might build our small community of Parents, facilitators, and motivators.

If you find my articles interesting and helpful, please boost my motivation through your comments.

Cheers,

Happy Parenting!

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