Changing the way we learn, live, bank and connect, mobile technology is making an impact on every generation. Here are some ways Canadians at every life stage are using mobile to their advantage.
Pre-teens and Teens
They may have grown up using apps to help them add, read and spell, as learning tools on smartphones and tablets entered Canadian homes en force 5-10 years ago. Now as teens (or almost there), these kids have evolved their use of mobile technology along with their potential for learning.
Apps such as iTunesU, MathBingo, Khan Academy and even TED are just a handful of ways this group can keep up or get ahead outside the classroom. They can access some of the world’s best university libraries, interactive tools and exercises, seminars from top thinkers and leaders, and play games that accelerate their learning in a fun and innovative way.
When it comes to inside the classroom, many parents and teachers consider smartphones taboo and urge kids to leave their devices at home. But when mobile technology is embraced (and regulated) inside the school, they open the door to amazing opportunities. For example, Skype is used by many teachers to bring experts into the classroom, and Google Hangouts connect them with other educators, students and classes. Innovative apps such as 30Hands allow students to narrate presentations and share with others and Glogster is a poster-making tool where students can embed audio, video and music. Say good-bye to bristol board and cue cards!
For decades, innovation in baby gear, toys and programs has given parents increasingly sophisticated ways to educate themselves, interact with their babies and monitor their development. Mobile technology has taken this innovation to a whole new level, with apps that offer new parents all kinds of support at their fingertips. Simple apps can provide white noise (such as vacuum cleaner sounds), which can help soothe a baby to sleep. More complex and interactive ones offer up recipes, information and activities for every stage of infancy; and new parents can track feeding, sleeping (and yes, even pooping) in their most sleep-deprived states.
Beyond baby-specific apps, there are many ways parents of young kids can use their mobile devices to make day-to-day life easier. Green P’s parking app, for example, means mom or dad don’t have to trek out to the parking meter to drop in a few loonies. And the Cineplex app lets them buy movie tickets on-the-go, when a mommy-and-me show or last-minute diversion for a bored 4-year old is desperately needed.
Family life is a busy life, and parents and kids are always on the go. Chore management and scheduling apps can make organizing life easier – especially since they can sync across devices so every family member can tap in. And grocery shopping – an ongoing chore for every family – can be streamlined and simplified with any number of apps. For example, AnyList lets users create a list of items, which can be instantly shared with the entire family. Multiple lists can be formed, and items can be added using Siri. Plus there are apps that can take pictures of the pantry and refrigerator, scan barcodes and provide nutritional information for the food on the shelves.
When the workday is long, busy professionals are looking to maximize time away from the office. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps out there to help out. Everything from physical activity to financial activity can be tracked. Bills can be paid, money transferred and even taxes filed while on the go! They can order food (and coffee) from wherever they are, for whenever they need it. There’s no longer a need to carve out time to carry out mundane tasks; this group can get things done while on the streetcar, waiting in line, or even in a meeting (as long as they’re discreet).
Sometimes considered late-adopters of technology, today seniors are some of the most active adopters of mobile technology thanks to apps that can facilitate day-to-day life in some amazing ways. For those with mobility issues, they can deposit a cheque using mobile cheque deposit, or monitor their heart rate, track their pills, check their blood pressure and look up symptoms using a smartphone or tablet. Social apps such as Skype and online group games like Scrabble or Bridge can keep seniors connected when leaving home is difficult. For seniors who are on-the-move, transit apps can let them know when the next bus is coming, so they can cut down on wait times when heading out for the day.
Mobile technology has some incredible uses that can enhance the lives of Canadians of all ages and abilities. Of course it also lets us send countless texts, check the score of the game and play Candy Crush… but everyone needs a diversion!
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