Technology should be seen as catalyst to widen the horizon of learning, rather than an antidote. More and more teachers are open to using technology in classroom to make learning engaging and fun, writes Jitendra Karsan, CEO, Safari Kid India, for Elets News Network (ENN).
The key to a successful learning experience and any early childhood education lies in the interaction and bond formed between a child and his/her teacher. By taking students beyond their textbooks or immediate surroundings, technology enables a teacher in explaining various concepts in an interesting manner using videos, apps, online quizzes and other interactive content. For example, before a trip to a local zoo, teachers can ask students to visit zoo’s website and thus asking children to discover about different animals by going through the educational videos, info graphics or animations. Using technology enables teachers to design unique learning environments for their students. This enables a positive and comforting environment along with a stronger teacher-student bond which can be used to enhance students’ learning outcomes and foster strong interactions with them.
Early learners aged 1 to 8 are always interested in using newly learnt skills, whether it is speaking, writing, drawing or using numbers. Children at this age are also very active and curious. For them, it is difficult to sit for long, which is why they need frequent changes the way they are being taught. Teachers often include dance, play, sports or recitation to keep them engage and technology helps them take their efforts to a next level. Exploration of technology, whether is in the form of a computer, tablet or a new tool can effectively help them expand, enrich and individualise the overall curriculum.
Technology is not only limited to interaction within the classrooms only but also helpful in documentation, assessment, instructions and support that enable teachers to create a more effective teaching-learning environment. For instance, teachers can share their students’ progress with parents online or use specific apps to plan lessons and at the same time explore new examples while using interactive media.
For example, at Safari Kid, we have an app that enables the parents to see their children’s progress and actively engage with their teachers to understand the progress on coursework or any other queries.
While the role of technology slowly percolates to education and learning of early learners, it is a must to equip and train teachers to share content that is developmentally appropriate, non-racist, non-sexist, non-biased towards religion or any community. Furthermore, not all education related apps are beneficial. Teachers should be able to differentiate between that and provide only the best content to their students.
The best learning tools integrate multimedia features in a way that flows smoothly with the topics and learning goals. Too many bells, tabs or whistles can distract children and may interfere with the learning process. A good quality educational app/website/technical tool will present content in a meaningful context that actively engages with the child and allows for creative exploration.
The percolation of technology and media is essential in our lives. Education in that sense too should use technology as a catalyst to widen the horizon of learning, rather than being seen as an antidote to it. New approaches to design learning experiences help in personalising learning for every child as they have individual learning curve. Additionally, information about interactions, preferences as well as collaboration (records of how learners can find concepts more enriching with the help of technology, how much time they are spending on which module, etc.) can create new streams of database that enable institutions and teachers to understand learners in contextualised manner.