When kids think about smartphones, they probably don’t think about learning. But with the way the world has changed over the past year, it’s no longer just your standard smart devices like laptops and tablets that come in handy for remote learning.
How can smartphones facilitate distance learning? 🧑💻
Much like other devices, smartphones function in just about the same way if not better than certain desktop computers or laptops. Since they’re smaller, they’re often the more affordable option.
Some things should still be done on a device with a larger screen, but for the most part, smartphones are ideal for distance learning at home.
So which smartphone is best for online learning at home?
Here are our top 3:
iPhone SE 2020
The cheapest new Apple iPhone on the market, the iPhone SE 2020 is reliable in performance and perfect for anyone already accustomed to the Apple ecosystem.
It’s the same size as the iPhone 8 from 2017. It has a 4.7 inch display and comes with the M1 chip making it faster and more powerful than the iPhone 8 or iPhone X.
Apple’s iOS software is compatible with a variety of parental control Apps, and it offers a screen time management feature that can be controlled via a passcode.
Motorola Moto E6 Plus
Costing only around £99.99, the Moto E6 Plus is incredibly affordable and a sensible choice for any parent looking to invest in a smartphone for their child or teenager.
The E6 Plus runs on Android 9 software, which makes it compatible with Google Apps like Meet, Chrome and Docs. It comes with sufficient storage, but unlike Apple iPhones there’s also an option to use a microSD memory card.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Another Android winner, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is the best mid-range smartphone the brand has to offer. With a 6.5 inch screen, a 32MP front camera and up to 256GB on board storage, it’s everything your child needs and more.
Although it does come in at a higher price point than others, it’s a great smartphone and should last a good three to four years even with daily use.
How to decide which smartphone to buy your child for distance learning 📱✨
Consider the exact needs of your child and ask the following questions when weighing up your options:
👉 How many hours will your child spend using the phone for learning?
👉 Does this include time spent in video call classes via Apps like Zoom and Google Meet?
👉 Does the phone have capacity for a PDF reader and a document editor such as Google Docs?
👉 What kind of parental controls can you set up on the device?
👉 Can you limit screen time for social media Apps so that they aren’t a distraction during learning hours?
👉 How much memory does it come with?
👉 Does it have a cloud storage facility? Or do you have to pay extra for that?
👉 Is the camera quality good enough for video calling?
So you’ve bought the perfect smartphone for distance learning at home, but how can you ensure it’s used for the right reasons and doesn’t lead to distraction rather than productivity?1. Install a parental control app 👪
There are so many parental control Apps out there, so make sure to do your research before committing to a purchase. We recommend Net Nanny for iOS users. And for Android folk, we recommend Norton Family.2. Utilise screen time limits and monitoring features effectively 🙅
Does your device come with built-in screen time controls? Great! Set these up according to your child’s class schedule and limit the use of their favourite Apps during prime learning hours. Make sure to set a passcode for accessing these limits – one that only you will know.
3. Remind your child to take responsibility ☝️
Yes, you bought them the phone for learning. And yes, they’ll install TikTok and Snapchat on it in a heartbeat, making it feel like it’s now theirs. That’s where your authority as a parent needs to be asserted.
Make it clear that since you paid for the phone, it's still your property meaning you’re entitled to check it regularly, regulating how they use it and setting limits with Apps and screen time.