Back to School: Learning in the digital age

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As young ones head back to class, some families might try to limit students time on their tablets and smartphones.

Liz Gumbinner, the co-publisher of, wants parents to know they don’t necessarily have to take away a child or teen’s smartphone to get them to focus on their studies. focuses on apps families can use with their children, some of which she uses with her own daughter, Sage.

“If you may be struggling with one of the subjects in school, it would really help you and then you can come in, even just the next day, and impress your teachers, because all of them really help you learn quickly,” says Sage Gumbinner.

Gumbinner says DuoLingo is a great app to introduce children and teens to.

“It lets you learn over 30 languages and it’s so simple and easy. They just throw you in and have you start identifying pictures, connecting it with the sound that you hear, answering questions about basic sentences and before you know you’re learning a language,” says Gumbinner.

Brooklyn-based app Tiny Bop is also on their list.

“Kids can play on their own. There’s no instructions, there’s no winning, there’s just beautifully animated apps that let kids explore and learn through exploration,” says Gumbinner.

The next app she suggests is called Epic!

“You can get access to about 35,000 books, really good titles, plus worksheets, quizzes, interactive games to get kids excited about reading,” says Gumbinner.

Lastly, Gumbinner says suggests downloading the math app Dragon Box.

“You’re doing really fun, strange activities to try to isolate a box, a dragon box, in half of the screen. Eventually they start replacing the pictures that you’re connecting with numbers, so you actually end up doing algebraic equations without even realizing it,” says Gumbinner.

Gumbinner says it's important for parents to encourage their young ones to use technology in a positive way.

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