Both math and science are subjects that are perhaps most difficult to teach to young learners, especially during the pivotal late elementary and middle school stages. What's the best way to reach out to them? Perhaps the most effective method is to use the medium by which young learners communicate--mobile devices. According to a national survey from CTIA and Harris Interactive, cell phone use comprises almost half of a teen's social life, and four out of five teens carry some form of mobile device. This figure represents a 40% increase since 2004. In the final prognosis--when you want to get a kids' attention, if can't beat, then join, as the saying goes.
Aside from the ever-increasing popularity of the iPhone and its family of related gadgets, there are several STEM learning resources for pre-teen and teen students beyond Apple products. One such application is Math4Mobile. This cell phone application was developed in 2007 by Prof. Michal Yerushalmy, of the Institute for Alternatives in Education of the Faculty of Education at the University of Haifa. When the app is installed on a cell phone, it enables users to perform mathematical functions as advanced calculus and as basic as elementary geometry. What's more, it's compatible with almost all cell phones.
Another interesting mobile device created earlier this year is the TINspire Navigator. Developed by Texas Instruments, the device enables math and science educators to facilitate classroom collaboration and discussion. Similar to how online schools interact virtually. This particular learning device is a variation on the concept of the cell phone. Students will likely respond to such technologies well.
The numbers of elementary and middle school STEM learning resources are vast. And sifting through the Internet is a great way to begin finding new ways to teach the same thing. The bottom line, however, is to make sure these resources align with your students interests and personal technologies. They'll be more willing to employ new methods if they're approached with something they are already familiar with.