Today we are delighted to feature Eric and Camila (and their adorable elephants) from Geeks with Juniors for the Oceanhouse Media Blogger Spotlight! Discover their favorite apps for kids, how they think apps have revolutionized education, and more below.
Oceanhouse Media (OM): When did you launch Geeks with Juniors? What was the inspiration behind it?
Geeks with Juniors (GWJ): We launched Geeks with Juniors on Jun 22, 2012. We started the site because we believe we can offer a unique perspective to reviewing educational apps for kids. We are both developers, and Eric is a lecturer and a parent. We believe the intersection of our backgrounds in technology, education, and parenting makes our reviews unique.
OM: What is the mission or goal of your site?
GWJ: We want to focus on the intersection of technology and education because we believe that’s how our future is being shaped. And, we will always try to be in the forefront. For now, the fastest growing platform is the iPad, but we keep our eyes open to shift to where the future takes us.
With this in mind, our current goal is to help parents discover the best educational apps for their kids through our reviews and guides.
OM: How do you think technology has made parenting easier?
GWJ: Ever since the beginning of time and into the foreseeable future, parenting is always challenging. Technology in itself is a double-edged sword. If we use it properly to aid our parenting goals, technology can have an astounding impact.
No matter how good we are as parents and our kids’ teachers are at teaching, we can all use a bit of help. The iPad and the internet have made parenting and homeschooling resources easily accessible. It’s inspiring to see how developers, parents and teachers share their techniques and resources with us. Now, it’s up to us and our curating skills to make the best use out of it.
OM: What is your favorite thing about being a parent in the technology age?
GWJ: We believe it’s our job as parents to introduce new concepts to our kids, and teach them how to learn new skills. We need to be continually inspired in parenting. The internet has made it possible for parents to learn from their peers and adopt the most suitable educational tools for their kids.
OM: What are your kids’ favorite apps right now?
GWJ: Eric has two sons: Philip (4) and Noah (2). Philip loves to play puzzle games and create his own music. His favourite apps are Beyond Ynth, Amazing Alex, Toca Builders, and GarageBand.
Noah loves to sing and play with alphabet apps. His favourite apps are LetterSchool, Mini-U: Zoo Alphabet, Talking ABC, and Endless Alphabet.
OM: What are the most important features you look for when choosing kids’ apps?
GWJ: First and foremost, it has to be a fun app to play. Kids learn best through playing. If you can keep them engaged, they will eventually learn new things as they play.
We tend to avoid freemium apps. Even though there are a few freemium apps that are well designed, most are not. Nowadays we also emphasize more on an app’s unique value — what does this app offer that other apps don’t?
OM: Do you think apps have revolutionized education?
GWJ: Yes, of course. Here are some examples:
* Alphabet and number apps have made flash cards obsolete. Kids can recognize letters and numbers at a younger age than ever before.
* High quality voiceovers from native speakers make it possible for ESL kids to learn phonics and spelling correctly and easily.
* Many apps have made it easier for kids to experiment with coloring, word building, jigsaw puzzles, storytelling, and even various jobs/roles.
* Several apps even make it possible for kids to explore different parts of the world: new countries, the forest, and even the deep blue sea.
OM: What are some of your favorite tech parenting sites?
GWJ: Eric and Philip are now into playing LEGO with the basic bricks. If you have a bunch of bricks and looking for ideas to build, you might want to check [Brick Instructions].
If you’re looking for ideas and inspirations for DIY crafting activities with your kids, we’d suggest Pinterest. If you’re looking for app recommendations, we’d suggest subscribing to our RSS feed or following us on Twitter.
OM: Who is the most tech-savvy person in your house?
GWJ: Both of us are the most tech-savvy members of our respective families. Eric has high hopes that will change when Philip and Noah reach their teenage years.
Thank you so much to Eric and Camila for participating in the Blogger Spotlight!