Welcome to LearningWorks for Kids
The lives of 21st century kids are increasingly defined by their use of technology. If you are a clinician, educator, or medical professional who works with children, their captivation with technology is inescapable. Whether you like it or not, it is your obligation to understand the video games, apps, and technology that 21st century kids use. You do not need to be an expert gamer yourself, nor do you need to be a whiz with your smartphone. But if you want to connect with 21st century kids in their world, you have to know enough to ask thoughtful questions and to use technology for learning, communication, and collaboration.
Scroll down to find lots of information that will help you to:
- talk to kids about games, apps, and social media.
- talk to parents about screen time.
- find the best games and apps to improve academics.
- use games and apps to build social and emotional skills.
Clinicians who want to further their understanding of children’s use of screen-based technologies have come to the right place. There is so much to learn. If you want to immerse yourself (like a kid playing Minecraft) you might want to move directly to our Research tab below. However, if you want to start with the basics, we suggest that you take a few minutes and peruse our essential pages. We’d appreciate your thoughts and suggestions to make these pages more useful to to other professionals and encourage you to comment below or write to us directly.
Kids and screen-based technology
Clinicians and other child care professionals need to have a basic knowledge about what kids are doing with technology in the 21st century. They should be aware of issues such as how much time kids spend in front of a screen; the pros and cons of technology on brain development; and the impact of social media on communication, family, and emotional functioning. Twenty-first century child care clinicians also need to be aware of the impact of technology on education and to recognize how children’s play, which has always been a core element in their learning and development, has changed due to the pervasiveness of digital media and screen-based technologies.
Below you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics involving kids and screen-based technology.
How to find the best Games and Apps
There are millions of games and apps available for kids to play, and thousands more are being created on a daily basis. This wealth of resources makes it virtually impossible for clinicians and parents to narrow down the best games and apps to help kids improve executive-functioning, academic, and social/emotional learning skills. Even after you have found games and apps that may be helpful, it can be difficult to understand the best ways to help kids translate their technology engagement into real-world skills. Fortunately, that is our mission at LearningWorks for Kids, to help generalize game-based skills into real-world ones.
On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of how to find the best games and apps for patients.
Games, Apps, and Technology, in your office
Clinicians working in the 21st century cannot avoid the use of technology in their work. At the most basic level, you need to be aware of issues such as electronic billing, using email, helping patients research the Internet for treatment approaches, accessing electronic health records, and having a website. Clinicians who want to take it a bit further will want to know about online therapy, using social media to communicate with other professionals, or innovative neurotechnologies that help kids with learning and attention issues. Beyond these common uses of technology, there are many other innovative opportunities for using technology in your clinical work with children.
On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of using games, apps, and technology in your office.
Providing Information to Parents and Professionals
Clinicians who work with children need to provide parents and educators with guidance about a variety of topics. Pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and educators are bombarded by questions about children’s involvement with screen-based technologies and digital media. Parents want to know if video games are good for their kids, if they should allow them to have a cell phone, and if social media is ruining relationships. The limited guidance available, provided primarily by pediatricians, simply suggests that we attempt to limit kids’ engagement with screen-based technologies. In today’s world, where learning, communication, and social engagement are increasingly transmitted by way of electronics, a far more complex understanding of these topics is required for clinicians.
On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced information to share with parents about technology.
Research on Games, Apps, and Mental Health
Research exploring the impact of technology on children’s learning and social/emotional functioning is in its infancy. While there is an increasing amount of data suggesting that modest amounts of screen-based technology are actually beneficial for children’s growth and development, we still have a great deal to learn in this regard. Fortunately you do not need to go back to graduate school in order to become knowledgeable about this research, as we have developed summaries of the research on topics that examine children, mental health, and technology use. Each of the summaries also includes links to the original research for those of you who want to explore further.
On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of a variety of research topics.
Non-tech strategies for improving Executive Functions
As great as technology can be for improving academic, executive- functioning, and social/emotional skills, clinicians should not forget the ways that traditional approaches can also improve these skills. It is often the combination of the use of new technological approaches with older classroom and home-based accommodations that results in the most substantial real-world improvements. While many technological interventions can practice or even support skills such as organization, planning, time management, study skills, and social awareness, it is the real-world practice that may come with traditional strategies that leads to long-term improvement in the skills of alternative learners.
On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of non-tech topics.