Educational toy trialled in Auckland school
Parents’ safety fears allayed by educational toy trialled in Auckland school with stunning results
Three-quarters of parents worry about what their children will find while surfing the internet, however only 40% of them have parental controls on their devices, a New Zealand survey reveals.
When asked what concerned parents about children using their technology, inappropriate content was the most worrying (44.1%), followed by content that wasn’t educational (22.6%) and breakage (20.9%). More parents give their child their touchscreen device such as a smartphone or tablet for entertainment rather than for educational purposes, the online survey of 1100 parents found.
“Letting your child use your phone or tablet may seem like a harmless way to occupy them, but parents should ensure it is the best device for their enquiring minds,” says toy expert Jeremy Kirk-Smith.
The CEO of leading Kiwi toy company Planet Fun, which commissioned the survey to gauge parental views on new technology, warned that not only are children able to access inappropriate content online, they may also delete files or drop and shatter their parent’s expensive device.
“Yes, new technology is the way of the future, but are children accessing the best content for their young minds?” Kirk-Smith asks. “Parents think they are giving their child an educational aid but they may not be.” The survey revealed that if usage was educational, 69.2% of parents would increase screentime, and if they had child-friendly wi-fi, 72.6% would give their child more access to touch screen devices.
Parents’ concerns have been answered with the latest learning tablet – the LeapPad Ultra – from internationally-renowned children’s learning brand LeapFrog.
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra 2013 Paul Ellis Publicity – 09 3789113 Distributed by Planet Fun, Kirk-Smith says the LeapPad Ultra is the ultimate educational touchscreen device, created by international educational experts. He took the unusual move to “walk the talk” by getting children – and educators – to put it to the test.
“We gave an Auckland school 40 LeapPad Ultras to trial in a learning environment. As a decile three school, few of the pupils have access to smart devices in the home so they were experiencing them for the first time. The results were remarkable in only four weeks.”
Colwill Primary School, in West Auckland, separated its classes with the same age and curriculum levels into two groups – with one class in each year using the LeapPad Ultras, while the other class didn’t. All the pupils were tested at the beginning of the trial and at the end of four weeks. The year 0-1 class that used the LeapPad Ultra had 100% improvement in literacy (phonics and letter knowledge) and 100% improvement in maths (number knowledge) compared to only 47% improvement in literacy and 23% in numeracy in the class without the units.
The year 1-2 class using the units had 100% improvement in literacy and 22% improvement in numeracy, compared with 100% and 13% respectively.
The year 2-3 class that used the LeapPad Ultra had 83% improvement in literacy and 73% improvement in maths, compared to only 38% improvement in literacy and 27% in numeracy in the class without the units.
Colwill School principal Rob Taylor said he was surprised by the significant increase in children’s learning in only four weeks. “The results are quite stunning,” Taylor said. “We also trialled it in a range of other teaching environments – for example, special needs children and reading recovery pupils – and the teachers saw clear benefits.”
Taylor said the LeapPad Ultra had improved pupils’ listening skills, as the unit needed users to follow instructions, and the attached stylus helped pupils with their hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Teachers were also impressed with the auto-levelling function that extended children’s ability whilst moderating challenges when children were struggling.
“Anything that engages children, and is fun, is the key [in education],” Taylor said. “The Leap Pad Ultra is the only device I have seen that teaches good handwriting skills – if children do not form the letter correctly the unit doesn’t recognise it and they can’t progress. And the close chat and safe wi-fi functions are reassuring.”
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra 2013 Paul Ellis Publicity – 09 3789113 Kirk-Smith says the school trial clearly illustrated the educational benefits of the LeapPad Ultra and gave parents peace of mind. “Children are learning while having fun. The teachers talked about the kids who had trouble focusing in class now being really engaged and wanting to learn on the units, through to children with reading issues now benefiting from time spent learning their letters. It has been tremendous to see such positive results.”