Age-appropriate Technology – Key to Holistic Learning
Teacher and author, George Couros says, “Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of a great teacher can be transformational.” Technology is now an integral part of education. The right edtech products can make children fall in love with learning. Does that mean the same piece of technology will be useful to all age groups of learners?
No, every age group responds to technology differently. For the best results, edtech products must be age-specific, such that the child interacting with technology understands it with little or no effort.
There are several edtech products in the market today, but very few, like LearnNext+ for example, are effective, engaging and age-appropriate.
The right design for the right age
An age-appropriate edtech device for toddlers below two years would be one filled with audio-visual or animated content. As toddlers’ are only at the sensorimotor stage of interaction, any other complicated edtech product will not be useful to them.
For kids aged two-seven years, a responsive keyboard that gives out a sound or emits light can be used, but it should be big enough to catch the eye of the little ones. Kids at this age have a small span of attention. Keeping this in mind, the design of the product should preferably be big and bright.
The 8-11-year-olds learn best from gamification techniques. Bring in story-based and competition-based learning and they will love it. Children in this age group look forward to challenges. When an edtech product gives them points, an upgrade or progress to the next level, they will be hooked. The Quizzer in LearnNext+, a real-time quiz duel, is a great example of a feature that allows students to challenge themselves academically and receive rewards.
When kids reach 11 years and above, they are as tech-savvy as an adult. Any design made for an adult is suitable for them. However, individual preferences may differ from child to child.
Some must-have features
The specification for edtech devices may be different for toddlers, kids and teens, but there are some common things that must be considered too. They are:
An interactive and intuitive device that captures the attention and interest of the child. It must deliver the concept in a way that is different from classroom interaction. Only when it is interactive and calls for child participation, an edtech piece can be effective.
A child-centric learning device works best. The device should promote self-learning in an exploratory process. It must instil confidence in a child to solve problems himself/herself. Methods like allowing multiple attempts to arrive at the right answer can bring out great results.
Lastly, it should be one that facilitates seamless collaboration between parents, teachers and students. This will ensure fun learning that is guided and transparent at the same time.
While the edtech world is dynamic and constantly upgrading, these are few things that must be kept in mind to give children the complete advantage of technology in their academic journey.