Technology

Children tell us which apps are best for lockdown learning

Children tell us which apps are best for lockdown learning

When it comes to online platforms, children prefer YouTube and Netflix - but nothing compares to old-fashioned playing outside.

So says Elaine Wang, cloud and software solutions director for the Mustek Group. She reached out to 12-year-old pupils in commemoration of Youth Day on June 16 next week to find out which online platforms get their vote. 

"In the light of South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown, Youth Day this year has reminded us of the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. The digital divide is troubling, with many of our country’s young people struggling without internet connectivity and basic digital devices."

However, Wang said, the rise of zero-rated platforms (those that do not charge the user, such as Facebook) has been encouraging.

"It is true that technology brings us closer to each other, and this period of physical distancing has demonstrated how information communication technology can help bridge the gap."

She warns that children have the upper hand when it comes to applying technology to learning, saying companies ignore these savvy consumers "at their peril".

From her research, YouTube and Netflix were the firm favourites.

Ruan said: “YouTube is my favourite app because it has so many tutorials on programming and technology and random stuff, like things that will make you laugh.”

Addy commented: “Other than binge watching all my favourite shows, I love YouTube and Snapchat”.

When it comes to learning, some children felt digital platforms could also distract them.

Jaimi said: “Tech can keep you busy, but I dislike that sometimes games can attract you so much that you play them 24/7.”

Charlotte remarked: “To pace myself, it’s kinda like self-discipline. There is no one at you all the time like, 'hand in your assignment'."

Addy said: “Technology has definitely made it easier to learn, but the bucket-load of work [in reference to e-learning] isn’t nice. Technology opens so many doors and makes life easier, but all the negativity  is being spread”.

Ruan said he has learnt new skills during lockdown: “The best thing I have learnt during lockdown is programming and stop motion using Lego and editing it afterwards”.

Jaimi also learnt new things: “You can’t be too careful. You must always wash your hands."

From all the interviews, Wang said nothing was more favoured by the children than playing outside together.

Charlotte lamented her worst part of lockdown was “not seeing anyone, not being able to do sport and being stuck with people. And you can’t really go anywhere if you have an argument with them [siblings]”.

Ruan said: “I can’t go outside and ride my go-kart and I can't see my friend,  but Houseparty, Fortnite, Minecraft and a lot of other apps helped me connect with all of them."