With children sometimes even being able to use an iPad or smartphone before they can say their first word, it’s no wonder that ICT supported learning suits this new generation of digital natives, these classrooms full of Wunderkinder.
So what exactly are these digital natives being taught on these devices? Many parents and educators who weren’t educated in such a fast-moving Internet society often struggle not only to understand the value in ICT supported education, but question whether anything is being taught at all in schools these days.
We spotted an article on Venture Village, on Berlin-based New Zealander Leah Hinton, who has developed a new tool for helping kids become makers of technology. Techspaghetti, appetisingly named for children as well as producing programmes for primary school-aged children (6-12 years) to guide them through making movies and music soundtracks, which can be used in various school subjects. Pitching learning to children as a fun, interactive experience could be the difference between fostering creativity and stifling it.
Across the other side of the world, in Brazil, some teens are combining a whole lot of good things at once, by practicing their language skills as well as performing community service by way of keeping company elderly retirees in Chicago, USA. Something that could, to some young people sound like a chore, is for these teenagers an opportunity to perfect their English with American people who have the time to chat with them. Using a video chat tool, a unique intergenerational and intercultural bridge is created, helping young people learn English and elderly people to continue developing friendships.
Not to mention the potential of virtual technologies such as Second Life (as well as its next-generation sister) helping transport children into another world, where they can interact (almost) hands on with concepts that can often never be experienced in real life, such as flying a plane, travelling through space or performing chemical experiments.
With increasing access to these kinds of technologies, some have grave concerns for the future of education. But those in the e-learning sector know that when children learn with the support of technologies, and the freedom to experiment with their potential, great things can happen.
At this year’s ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN e-learning experts will discuss the latest concepts and tools in technology-supported learning, including those for children and teens.