The more a child interacts with the parent or teacher while he learns, the better is his comprehension of the subject. We tell you how technology enhances the learning experience.
By Shashwathi Bhanukumar
A survey conducted by The National Council of Educational Research and Training in 2017 stated that ‘schoolchildren who engage more enthusiastically in classroom discussions and read stuff beyond textbooks are likelier to learn better than others’. The data was collected from 2.2 million children from classes 3, 5 and 8 in government schools. The report further showed that the performance of students through interactive learning increased by 14.5 points. There are different methods of learning which include visual, verbal, physical and aural (auditory), but the one method that combines two or more of them is interactive learning.
Interactive learning is a process through which a child is encouraged to be an active part of understanding a subject rather than just absorbing the information and memorising it. Through various activities, the child is allowed to interact with things around him, with his peers and his parents and teachers. This teaching model is learner-centred rather than teacher-centred, encouraging imagination and critical thinking in the child. It can be done through technology or through role-play and other activities.
Today, technology plays a huge role in making interactive learning a better experience for both teachers and students. According to a study from Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, Interactive media is captivating tech-savvy children via apps and video games. Today, 57 per cent of children under the age of eight are using educational applications. “What I have observed is that students no longer want to be just linear learners. And they are more comfortable with the latest technology. This level of comfort is way more than what adults could anticipate. So, when students touch and use interactive whiteboard or panel, interactive touch screens, or laptops, tablets and interactive tables and software, they learn & retain more as their attention span is more,” says Meenal Arora, Executive Director, SHEMROCK Preschools & the Founder Director of SHEMFORD Futuristic Schools, Delhi.
Following are some of the benefits of interactive learning through technology:
Parents and children can bond and learn from each other through interactive learning. Following are some ways you can use technology to enhance the experience:
Though technology is a boon, Aarti Rajaratnam, a Chennai-based psychologist, believes that the best way of interactive learning is when there is actual interaction between the child and the parent. “From the child development perspective, it is essential that until the child is of eight years of age, he is encouraged to learn through hands on activities, without the use of technology. The ‘interactive learning’ during early years must involve people and experiences. However, after the age of 12, optimal use of technology can benefit the learner. Here again, technology must never replace the experience of the learner. Learning is experience, all else is just information. For true learning the learner must have an internal locus of control that helps him to explore, discover, navigate, experiment, question, analyse, solve problems and generate more challenges. This is best done in the three-dimensional format through autotelic play and not through technology-assisted predetermined programmes. Technology is called artificial intelligence for a reason,” she says.
Also, as Aarti points out, technology can be addictive. “Two-dimensional, unidirectional technology is more addictive than other forms of technology usage. Several studies have shown surge in dopamine levels and in cortisol levels in children using excessive technology. Play and other forms of hands on learning on the other hand make way for more synapses and sensory neural pathways across different parts of the brain and therefore addictions are not heard of in such whole brain learning modalities,” she informs.
Meenal suggest some ways you can help your child learn without the help of technology. Following are some tips:
Whether you are for the use of technology or not, one thing is certain interactive learning is crucial for your children to learn and absorb information in a fun environment. To sum it all up, Meenal says, “Interactive learning requires active participation and an open-ended exploration of topics. As children are equal partners in the learning process, this makes learning a fun and engaging experience for them. In simple words, interactive learning is enjoyable and great at captivating a child’s interest.”
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