We spoke to Sophie Whitehouse-Sparks, senior educator, CEO of TutorTime and founder of YOU CAN SIT WITH ME to get some educational tech tips.
“We know that parents find apps really, really useful,” she says. “But it’s really important to find out which apps are educational, up to date, are current and have appropriate graphics. So, the ones that I’m recommending to our parents at the moment are ABC Reading Eggs for ages 2 to 8 – it is absolutely fantastic.
“It also has a virtual online child’s learning path so parents can see what their child is learning and that’s invaluable. And that’s actually very new for parents to be able to track what their children are learning through an app. The app has children’s stories, video content and feature lots of repetition which is so essential for young learners. The graphics are gorgeous, and the content is safe, plus it’s very engaging,” Sophie says.
“For coding I love an app called Swift Playgrounds. It’s a great first step for somebody wanting to learn to code and if you’re already a coder. Absolutely wonderful, with different levels,” Sophie says.
“For high school students, I recommend Khan Academy.”
“Khan Academy is [an] online resource for exercise, video and personalised learning dashboards that helps students to progress at their own pace both inside and at home. Subject areas covered include Maths, Arts & Humanities, Computing, Reading & Language, Science and Life skills.
“Khan Academy is great for primary school years and high school. It’s one I always go back to. It’s just relevant. It’s got good repetition. It has lots of examples and students can easily go back to revise topics,” says Sophie.
“For learning English and other languages, you can’t beat Duolingo. It’s great for students in 7 to 8 who’ve chosen to do a language in years 9 to 10s, as well as those upper years – 11 and 12, who need more experience and exposure to a language.
“It moves through different levels and gets harder and harder. Plus, those learning English can use it to increase their English proficiency,” Sophie says.
Smart Christmas presents for kids?
Sophie recommends the Echo Dot smart portable speaker than can play music and podcasts. “It’s a smart home hub for devices on your WiFI network. So, you can talk to your Echo Dot and ask them to read your story or play some music. So I think that’s really cool for kids.
“And a great gift for teenagers is a power bank for their phone so they can stay in touch with us,”