Tuesday, 27 February 2018 11:35

Opening a new app on learning part 1 Featured

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BANGOR - As technology becomes more advanced, and weaved into our lives, we explore the use of smart applications among children. We explain when it's appropriate for kids to use to them to learn.

Technology is evolving at a fast rate, and it seems like children are able to access these tools at earlier stages of their lives. When they're at critical points and they're minds are developing and growing.


"There's benefits to children learning in general, and there's benefits as to how that learning is going to be provided in the most effective way," said Dr. Michael Ross, a general pediatrician with Eastern Maine Medical Center.


Dr. Ross explains it's unclear what the positive outcome is when children use media, like television, or educational applications on smart devices to learn.


"There's nothing that shows that actually by itself is an enhancement and if anything we've seen the negative proven of directly using that alone," said Ross.


Dr. Ross says children should turn off technology an hour prior to bed because in some reports it shows it can disturb sleep.


"When you are staring down at something that has bright light shining upward you're getting a very mixed message," said Ross.


He says watching or using content that stimulates the brain, can make it harder to fall asleep. Especially if it's exciting content, and there's some theories that excessive media use can also affect obesity.


"There's concerns that when you're distracted you're not aware of what s coming into your body. So you're more likely to eat more than you intend to," said Ross.


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children younger than two have a hard time grasping information in on-screen media form, but said toddlers learn best when they interact with others.


Experts say it's important to use the apps together.


"We know that when used as a tool, along with parental involvement anything is going to lead to enhancement of learning," said Ross.


"When you consume media of any sort, it's better understood if there's a conversation and a reflection either during or immediately after," said Deb White, a Peak-5 teacher and secretary of Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine.


It may also cause behavioral problems when used as an exclusive device, as a distraction device.


"Children grow and learn how to interact with others, how to regulate their own emotions, how to delay gratification. How to have impulse control when based on experience, and when we limit that experience we'll see impact in those areas," said Ross.


It's a good tool to use, but not the only tool.


"These apps are very well intentioned and while they may come off as education there's even some pressure on parents these days to adopt these as something that you should be doing for your child, but there's really no evidence that suggests that these are more advantageous than sitting with a child with a book," said Ross.


Despite the negatives, when children use technology in an educational environment, they can benefit it.


"When they're incorporated into a school curriculum those elements of social guidance, those elements of restraint and involvement, those elements are being emphasized," said Ross.


Deb White teaches 4th grade at Asa C. Adams School in Orono. She said she uses technology quite frequently in her classroom.


"The real equality programs are and apps for kids are ones where kids get to produce content...it's not so much that we want kids to learn more earlier, it needs to be developmentally appropriate," said White.


Gina Marini

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Gina Marini, a graduate of Curry College, joined WVII ABC7 and WFVX Fox 22 after spending a little more 2 years with NH1 News in New Hampshire. During her time there, she spent time traveling the state bringin...

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