Why move skills from technology to other tools?

There is definitely a time when you want to shift the focus from technology such as iPads and apps to looking at other tools.

Why? Let me explain.

Have you ever had a child working on an app and they appear to have the skills you wanted them to develop --  but then you asked them to work on the same skill (or similar) without the app and the same child that was doing well starts to struggle. 

Yes this happens and that's OK.

I know you're wondering what do you do when this happens. 

First of all -- don't panic. 

This is just another step to help you figure out what is needed to allow the child to further develop their skills.

Which is awesome...right?

Think of it this way....It allows you to separate out different skills.

Ask yourself what skills a child is working on when they are using technology? And what skills do they need when they move to other tools? 

Let's look at an example, to help explain moving from technology to other tools.  I will use the 'Cut The Buttons App' for my example.

Press play on the video to quickly review how it works. (it's very quick)

With the Cut the Buttons app, a child can be working on the position they need to use scissors (which of course can help them with other fine motor skills such as holding a pencil, etc. -- as they are working on extending their wrist and motoric separation of their hand -- if you position the iPad and the child's hand correctly) They are working on opening and closing their hand.  They are also working on some visual scanning and eye-hand coordination and timing. 

The child is NOT working on holding the paper and the scissors in a certain position to cut the paper. And the child doesn't have to shift from moving the scissors to keeping the paper stable (bilateral hand skills) etc.  

You can see how the app is working on some skills but not all the skills -- you're getting the picture right? 

So of course, asking a child to use scissors and cut paper -- even though they've been working on a cutting app -- is completely different. I know this example is obvious but it's the same for any skill you move outside of technology.  You have to look at what the app is working on, what it offers, and what isn't being worked on until you move the skill outside of technology. 

What can you do to help move skills outside of technology? 

1. Write down what skills the child is working on when they're using the app.

2.  Consider what the next step is going to be when you move away from the app and ask them to work outside of technology.  Focus on ways that will allow the child to be the most successful.  (Meaning -- don't ask a child to pick up the scissors and cut a fancy design after they have worked on the Cut the Buttons app -- that's too many new skills at once!

3. Watch how the child responds when they try the activity outside of the app. How do they respond when the feedback from the app is not provided. What do you think the child requires to help them develop their skills?  These questions are very important, as they will help you decide your next steps and allow the kids on your caseload to see the progress they can make with the right support. 

You can do this!  


If you are wanting to learn more about developing skills with technology and other tools -- you will love the new iPads at School Levelled Program coming this spring.  Sign up for email updates to learn more!