An upgrade is coming to the digital classroom. Google Workspace and kids just got smarter thanks to two new educational solutions added on the platform from TBox, an educational technology company that provides schools with technology literacy software.
Designed for young students aged kindergarten through middle school, the TBox Junior and the TBox City support classroom learning and help students meet educational milestones while also incorporating an introduction to technology, according to the makers.
The TBox Junior utilizes interactive gaming for very young students so they can learn about technology through play, plus activities to practice reading and writing, hone fine motor skills, or just be creative.
For first through eighth graders, the TBox City is focused around computational skills and logical thinking and encourages problem solving with an emphasis on responsible technology use.
The TBox Junior curriculum offers various components that stimulate learning and development. The platform for preschool and pre-K includes projects and activities that trigger hand-eye coordination, tasks like graphing to grow mathematical thinking, and options for practicing reading and writing.
For more advanced learners, the TBox City is geared towards problem solving and technological savvy with materials that encompass reasoning skills and safe use of technology. Additionally, kids interacting with the TBox City can access and discover other Google tools such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites and grow their skills in areas like programming and image editing.
Quality internet-based learning tools are on the rise and similar online educational programs like Khan Academy Kids offer a database of activities that address learning goals like those included in the Common Core standards.
“Content includes activities in math, ELA, executive function, socio-emotional learning, and creative expression” and with learning material applicable through second grade. The TBox Junior and the TBox City go a step further to include streamlined material for more age groups as well as an introduction to digital citizenship, a way to use the internet safely and effectively.
The use of the internet, specifically apps and gaming, is a relatively new addition to the educational world, however it has already changed the face of lesson planning. Per EdTech Magazine, which analyzes education trends in K-12 classrooms, around 63 percent of teachers use technology in their classrooms on a daily basis.
What’s more, school districts are investing increasing amounts of resources in edtech. One study found that “K-12 districts in the U.S. alone spent $35.8 billion in 2020 on hardware, software, curriculum resources and networks, representing a more than 25 percent increase over 2019,” according to an article in Government Technology. The online education market remains dominated by the US and China and is growing exponentially with a projected increase of $350 billion by 2025.
Besides the convenience of a flexible schedule and efficient homework completion, emerging research reveals the value of incorporating technology into the classroom. Software has the potential to overcome traditional classroom constraints by customizing activities for each student, according to MIT.
Programs centered on math and computer skills have measurable improvement and it is increasingly believed that computer games “may enhance some of the core cognitive abilities, such as selective attention, that underlie the ability to acquire academic content or skills, a process that has been dubbed ‘learning to learn,’” according to a recent report published by the Society for Research and Child Development.
Furthermore, it is indisputable that the recent COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a major shift in how education is conducted worldwide. With classrooms shuttered and countless families sheltering at home, students completed class assignments on their computers and tablets, utilizing various e-learning tools and platforms.
As a result of the lockdowns, Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Vice President of Tencent Education, believes that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will become an integral component of school education.
Designers at TBox haven’t just created an academic education solution, but a training ground for the next generation of conscientious digital citizens. “TBox empowers students to become responsible leaders in the digital world and build a sustainable future in the future workplace,” says its Executive Director, Hugo Aguirre.
Google has dabbled in learning options for kids, but applications on Google Workspace have typically been geared towards professionals and college students.
While it will remain a place for productivity and design, with the addition of the TBox Junior and the TBox City, it will also be where parents, teachers and students can go to collaborate, discover and grow.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.