Brother and Sister Using iPad Together

Laptops, iPads and video game consoles are among the most popular holiday presents and they often get a bad rap for dumbing down kids. Yet popular technology gifts can engage children in activities that reinforce learning across core subjects and develop important problem-solving skills, says Jenifer Morack, director of COMPUTER EXPLORERS of Mercer & Hunterdon Counties.

“With the right training, kids can use common holiday gifts to design video games, write basic computer programs, better understand the world and even score higher on tests,” said Morack. “With the right curriculum, kids get so excited they forget they are learning. Their ability to absorb knowledge and apply it is really amazing and inspiring.”

In addition to its in-school curriculum, COMPUTER EXPLORERS offers opportunities for kids to design video games and 3-D worlds, program robots, make green-screen movies and experiment with other cutting-edge technology such as iPads; children ages 3 to 16 master technology skills at an early age. The extracurricular classes are taught in public and private schools, after-school programs, camps, pre-schools and youth organizations. ComputerTots and eTots, its online companion, help prepare pre-schoolers develop advanced skills in cooperative learning, observation and problem-solving.

With access to the Internet, most technology gifts can easily do double duty for both entertainment and learning.

“The trick is for kids to use household technology such as iPads and laptops in the classroom to make core subjects fun so kids want to use them as learning tools,” said Morack. “When students realize they can learn whenever and wherever they are with access to the right tools, popular technology gifts become much more valuable.”.