Interactive Learning Through Technology: How It Helps Your Child
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:
- The child can always choose from a wide range of apps and websites that are there and settle on the one that is most preferable to them.
- This method helps motivate and engage children in the classroom as well as out of it. The students can make use of numerous free tools and apps available online for creating all types of digital content and get creative in the process. They can employ different types of techniques including interactive posters, power point presentations or even a book review.
- It also allows them to control things they want it.
- Interactive learning also increases their motor skills where technologies like 3D cameras track their movement and make it fun. There are also some apps and websites which encourage children to move around, sing and dance too.
How you can use interactive technology at home to help your child learn
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:
- 3D Printers: Think of all the cool things you can make with 3D printers. With 3D printing, your child can create a unique product.
- Quizzes: There are many online platforms that allow your child to take quizzes which are fun. You could probably have a family quiz time where not only your child but you too might learn something new.
- Augmented reality: Augmented reality is catching up in a big way and children too are not oblivious to it. There are various apps and websites that combine augmented reality with education and literally, bring the subjects to life. You could engage in such websites at home with your child and wow your child.
- Videos: This might be the oldest, but still one of the best ways to learn. Encourage your child to make videos at home with your guidance. She can make videos of insects in your backyard or even the books at home that family members read. The goal is to learn while having fun in the process. She could later give a presentation on what she learnt while making the video.
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.
How you can implement interactive learning without technology
Meenal suggest some ways you can help your child learn without the help of technology. Following are some tips:
- Learn poems and rhymes together
- Read books together
- Include your children in household chores like making their beds, packing their own lunches, etc; this will foster responsibility, a sense of accomplishment and independence
- Ask questions on subjects that interest your child
- Start a collection together
- Tell a story and involve all your family members in role play
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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