Chris Lunt is the Business Development Manager for Micro Librarian Systems (MLS) who provide Library Management Systems and eBooks to over 17,000 UK schools.
Student engagement should never be undervalued and with the ability for schools to help inspire children to learn both inside and outside the classroom, there are many ways to engage them on their learning journey.
I’ve always found one of the most enjoyable ways for primary and secondary schools to engage children is through the power of reading. Travelling up and down the country visiting schools, I’ve been fascinated to see how schools and in particular, librarians are making use of new technologies to enthuse their children with a love of reading.
Many of the librarians I’ve worked with are amongst the most tech-savvy people I’ve ever met; they leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of finding the most effective ways to engage with children. This brings me on nicely to the mobile landscape and the role that smartphones and apps can play in helping children learn more effectively. I wanted to take a look at both of these areas in more detail:
The impact of reading
Research tells us that reading for pleasure can play a huge role in a child’s personal and emotional development. Studies have shown that people who read are happier and more successful, while for children and young people, reading not only helps to build self-esteem and broaden horizons, but increases general knowledge and relaxation.
In fact, children who read for pleasure also perform better in school, not just in terms of literacy but in other areas such as maths, spelling and vocabulary. It’s why reading can have a positive influence towards increasing career prospects in ways other activities don’t.
One of the easiest ways for schools to give children access to a wide range of books is through a library. They give students access to a wealth of knowledge, as well as providing a quiet environment where they can focus on their studies.
At MLS, our popular product the Reading Cloud has been designed for this very purpose, to help schools discover more library resources and ultimately, encourage more reading activity. It’s a user friendly librarian system which can be accessed directly from a smart phone, tablet or PC and provides schools with an online reading community where children can actually contribute – whether it’s building their own profiles and designing their own avatars, or sharing their favourite books and authors and building their own collections.
It’s important for schools to create a real community vibe for children, giving them access time and time again to see what’s new in the library.
There’s an app for that!
With the mobile landscape rapidly changing over the years, it’s now second nature to assume that many children are frequent users of mobile phones and the hundreds of apps that are available. What is clear is that apps are not only appealing for children to use, but have become a powerful learning tool, which is why we are seeing more schools introducing the use of tablet devices into the classroom.
Educational apps offer an innovative way to help interact with children and provide a valuable source of learning. If you are looking to incorporate a few into the classroom for various subjects, then a quick browse online will give you plenty of inspiration, from innovative ways to study maths through to fun methods to learn a different language. The best part is that many of them are also free to download.
I know from experience that things have changed a lot since we launched the first version of our iMLS app a few years ago. The app has evolved to include new features to bring content to life and give children access to a whole range of school library resources from their pocket.
When it comes to using apps to engage children in their learning journey, SIMS launched the Student app at the beginning of the year. It allows schools to engage with students, sending them alerts of key information to keep them engaged and giving them access to their daily timetable and upcoming homework tasks wherever they are.
Of course, every school is different and will have its own methods and initiatives to engage with its students, as they work towards a clear goal to impact on their educational progress.
How does your school engage children in their learning journey? Please share your thoughts below.