I vividly remember growing up during my adolescent years and how much I loathed doing my homework or even studying for the tests. Gaping at those lacklustre pictures and reels of black letters on white pages defined my academic sojourns! Learning was the ‘last thing’ that we could have termed as a ‘fun experience’, or something that we looked forward to, even remotely. And the occasional shifts in the syllabus didn’t help much either! But that’s not what today’s kids would have to say about their learning systems. Learning today indeed captures, in no uncertain terms, the ‘joy of discovery’!
So if someone were to tell you that you could unravel the secrets of the universe or identify a star or constellation, by simply pointing your hand-held digital device towards the sky, you’d be left startled! But that’s the power of digital technology in education; and its various apps for platforms like the iPad, iPhones and other Android devices.
A revolutionary approach to engaging and understanding first-hand, and ‘living’ the experience literally, kids today can see the subjects coming ‘alive’ in that multi-touch digital screen! From learning the first letters and numbers, to discovering under-sea species, or the extinct dinosaur; unravelling the mysteries of the human body with the help of 3-D graphics, to hearing great masters speak and read great literary works, or know about cultures, countries and food habits and instantly access digital libraries – the world as an oyster is truly in their palms!
That learning is a tactile experience facilitated by the power to ‘see, touch, and hear’ is amply demonstrated in these fascinating interactive apps. ‘Practical’ learning is therefore the key – and apps meant to track the learning curve of each child are justifiably doing that. How else would you explain those staggeringly brilliant apps being created for visually challenged kids or those struggling with autism? These are apps aiding such children to hear, speak, and develop hand-eye co-ordination and other motor skills! We call it scientific engineering bolstering young ones towards social engineering!
The whole motive thus, is to encourage all kinds of kids and help in improving their abilities, intellectually and otherwise. Whether a kid is in need of improving his verbal ability, remove his fear of numbers, polish vocabulary, or simply nudge those creative cells to think better, the interactive apps are egging them to do better and do it right!
Recent studies carried across schools in the US, which have adopted the iPad into their curriculum, have shown a steady improvement in performance by kids, better grades, lesser absentees and more classroom participation! A subtle reminder once again that these apps are taking education beyond the four walls of the classroom! Educators in fact have lauded the iPad as a ‘powerful and effective’ tool which offers relief from the heavy books that weigh down their backpacks. (There are 1.5 million iPads being used already in schools across the US, according to Apple)
Digital apps in education have added a whole new meaning to creativity and creating for children! And what’s learning without the spirit of enquiry and imagination or treading those unchartered waters! Educational apps are challenging today’s young minds to dream big and dream the impossible!
Just makes me wonder though – what if we had such educational apps during our time!! (Sigh)