When it comes to the educational technologies available to teach our children to read you will definitely see three categories emerge: yesterday, today and tomorrow.
As a parent of a child learning to read, you probably still remember the instructional books you used when you were a child.
If you’re a younger parent, you probably used VHS tapes or even CD-ROM software to learn how to read.
While all of these methods fall under the category of “yesterday’s educational technologies,” some parents still use them now, in the 21st century, to teach their children how to read.
Today’s educational technologies, however, capitalize on the full capabilities of your computer and make all those older methods obsolete.
These educational technologies are delivered online, as opposed to being downloaded, which means you just need to log in to begin. You don’t need to perform complicated downloads or waste precious hard drive space with bulky software programs.
You can access these programs anytime and anywhere. You can use your laptop or your iPad or even your cell phone to access educational technologies.
Your child can continue reading lessons using the new educational technologies while you’re on vacation or visiting relatives. Best of all, your child won’t lose his work if your computer gets a virus or if the hard drive crashes.
Tomorrow’s educational technologies are based on cloud computing. If you’re not familiar with cloud computing, it simply means that all of your computing, software, data storage and access services are located outside of your computer and on someone else’s server network. 
It’s a natural extension of today’s educational technologies where you access these software programs online.
With cloud computing, you’ll have access to unlimited disc storage, RAM and other amazing features. You’ll have access to every software program you have ever purchased and all of your My Documents files right at your finger tips through any device you own, whether it’s a home computer, a tablet or a smart phone.
Downloadable software, quite frankly, becomes obsolete in a cloud-based world.
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait for tomorrow’s educational technologies because cloud computing is here today.
You can use these wonderful new educational technologies to teach your child to read right now.
You will need to carefully review a learn to read product, however, to determine whether the product capitalizes on the full capabilities of your computer to teach your child how to read.
In order to qualify as “tomorrow’s technology,” these educational technologies and products must fit the following criteria:
- Interactivity. The educational product must be truly interactive with your child, meaning that your child needs to respond correctly before the next lesson can be taught. Most video tapes and CD-ROM software can be fast-forwarded or skipped, so there is no absolute proof that your child mastered the lesson. With tomorrow’s educational technologies, your child has to demonstrate his knowledge before he can move on.
- Onscreen instructors. Computers obviously have the ability to display images, so the inclusion of an onscreen instructor is very important. These instructors enable your child to learn independently, so you no longer have to be the expert. The onscreen instructor becomes the expert. The instructor can be a live video of a human being or a cartoon character—whichever captures the attention of your child.
- Performance. These new educational technologies must track your child’s responses and provide comprehensive reports on your child’s progress. These reports must include results on individual lessons and cumulative performance over time. Cumulative reports are very important because they track your child’s overall improvement in a very clear manner.
- Discrimination. Simply put, your child needs to choose between correct and incorrect responses during the lessons. If there is only one choice for an answer, your child won’t learn anything. While this may sound obvious, there are plenty of software programs that do not require discriminating answers from your child.
- Artificial intelligence. Tomorrow’s educational technologies are able to extract data from your child’s performance and change the lesson as needed. In other words, if your child is struggling, the program should offer additional help until the lesson is mastered.
The educational technologies you choose for your child should fulfill all five of these criteria. You will see these very 5 criteria demonstrated in all of ClickN KIDS products. 
Older educational technologies may offer one or two of these features, but don’t be fooled. Buy only the best for your child.
If you’re wondering which new educational technologies are right around the corner, the answer lies in voice recognition. Future reading programs will be able to listen to your child read aloud and provide immediate training and feedback.
While voice recognition educational technologies have been around for a while and have accuracy rates upwards of 95% with adult voices, the technology has not yet advanced to the point of being able to accurately interpret children’s voices. The capabilities of computer based instruction will again be redefined with the introduction of voice recognition. 
Thanks to tomorrow’s educational technologies, it’s a truly exciting time to teach your child to read today!
Alan Scalone began his professional career in 1979 developing software systems that control paper mills, oil refineries and electric utility plants leading 10 years later to a Senior Systems Engineer for Honeywell’s elite global post sales technical support group.
He then took on the task of establishing and managing the hardware and software manufacturing quality assurance departments for industry leading Hypercom’s point of sale transaction processing product manufacturer leading to the successful launch and dominate market penetration of the firms credit card processing product line.
Mr. Scalone then spent several years designing and developing Motorola’s worldwide Intranet communications software systems and is one of the original ClickN KIDS founders and software engineer of the highly successful ClickN READ Phonics and ClickN SPELL programs. He is also an expert in educational technologies.
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