A follower of The Homework Trap recently asked me to post a link to a resource, 10 iPhoneApps That Can Help With Homework. I haven’t checked out the content, but I am happy to provide this link and leave it to parents to see if it helps. I am not endorsing nor questioning the specific apps but, instead, will talk about the general relationship between homework and technology.
My primarily belief is that persistent homework problems are caused by under-the-radar learning difficulties (generally in working memory and processing speed) which may or may not rise to the level of constituting a true learning disability. These problems affect the child’s ability to know what he is required to do and the pace at which he can complete the work. The child functions better in a time-bound setting (the school day) and under the supervision of a professional teacher, than the child does in an open-ended setting (the home) and with parents who should not be turned into teacher’s aides. In general, I believe that these learning issues get misunderstood to be matters of character not variations in ability, under what I call the Myth of Motivation. That’s an in-a-nutshell review of the model I discuss in my book, The Homework Trap: How to Save theSanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.
Technology, in general, can serve as a powerful tool in overcoming some of the difficulties behind homework noncompliance. Just looking at myself, I know that the laptop computer has had a major impact in improving my efficiency. I happen to have very poor handwriting although I type quite well. By typing notes and keeping them organized in digital files, while having access to internet at the same time, I’m able to do things I could never do before (like write and post this blog over breakfast this morning).
I’m a psychologist, not an educator. I leave it to educators to figure out the specifics of how to utilize these powerful, technological resources, to further education. In fact, I’ll mention that there is an article this morning in the Washington Post that questions technology and its effects on learning (Istechnology sapping children’s creativity?). I’m sure this is a complicated issue that needs to be considered from different perspectives. But, in general, technology can compensate (perhaps differently at different stages of child development) for the deficits that underlie persistent homework non-compliance.
So, consider the ten apps that my follower has suggested, and consider the comments that question technology. But, above all, keep in mind that whatever you do with the homework that is assigned, your requirements for your child should always be time-bound.
I’m mentioned in the past that if it is your choice (and homework should always be ultimately in the parent’s control) to use different resources – a tutor or learning center, a technological approach, or some other method to improve your child’s education. But what you do should always be offered within the designated homework time slot, not in addition to everything else that is assigned. Certainly, you and your child can avail yourself of the ever-growing pool of resources that are out there to help with the homework. Consider the ten apps that are mentioned here. You can Google “homework help,” and a wealth of resources will be returned. Just keep in mind, for things to work out, your child needs containers within which to work.
Visit The Homework Trap website
Visit The Homework Trap website
Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.