By Meredith Chasney
Investment in early childhood education plays a crucial role in maximising a child’s future well-being. Early childhood refers to the period between birth and around six years of age, and during this stage of life the foundations are set for cognitive development. However, many families face challenges when it comes to providing quality education at this time since it is both costly and time-consuming.
To help bridge the gaps in access to early childhood development resources and to enhance learning outcomes, it is important to leverage technology. New technologies can offer interactive environments that facilitate the mastery of specific skills, the ability to provide personalised learning experiences, and the opportunity for more autonomy in a child’s learning experience.
When we apply technology to the process of language learning, we create opportunities for play-based learning without needing to invest extensive time and resources. Educational apps and platforms can immerse and engage children more readily by motivating them to play and learn on their own.
With AI and machine-learning technologies, there is greater potential for personalised learning experiences that allow children to learn at their own pace. This can be especially advantageous in larger classroom settings. By adapting educational content to each individual learner, technology can help teachers address their students’ individual needs and optimise classroom instruction.
Touchscreens can aid the development of fine motor skills such as tapping, sweeping, dragging, and zooming. Children can also familiarise themselves with tracing letters, numbers and shapes in multimedia environments that can be more engaging than non-digital formats. However, it is important to note that digital motor skills do not replace other fine motor skills which at this point cannot be practiced using interactive screens.
In order to reap the benefits of technology, it is essential that the digital resources be age-appropriate and kid-safe. When technology is carelessly introduced to children, it can cause negative effects, such as excessive screen time. Furthermore, digital resources should never be used at the expense of playing outside and interacting with the world around us. Rather, educational technology should be seen as a complement to traditional learning methods. We will be able to better prepare the future generations if we can achieve this balance between real-world interaction and the type of interaction that technology enables.
(The writer is Educational Content Manager at Lingo Kids, English for Kids.)
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