Today’s Kids Learn Differently

  • April 2014
  • Posted By JohnnyG

The principles, processes, and practices of education change through time and technology, a fact made more evident in the ways that modern kids learn differently from their parents and grandparents. Keep in mind that the older generation did not have access to classroom tablets and computers with plenty of learning applications and with access to the Internet, both technologies of which the younger generation (i.e., the so-called Net Generation and Generation Y) have easy access.

Use of Technology to Suit Learning Styles

While information and communication technology including classroom tablets and computers has changed the design, delivery and evaluation of education, the four basic learning styles have remained unchanged. Technology, of course, was and is used in complementing the learning styles so that students have the opportunity for more effective learning while educators have the opportunity to become effective facilitators – a win-win solution.

What are these learning styles and what are the ways that technology can enhance them?

Visual learners learn through images such that visualization is important in the learning process. Board games, memory games, and interactive games with plenty of graphics, images, and videos on classroom tablets and computers will encourage faster learning.

• Kinesthetic leaners process knowledge through movement and physical sensations. Hands-on activities and experiments using the tools of technology are best for their learning capabilities.

• Auditory learners learn by thinking in words, verbalizing concepts, and listening to audio materials. Applications that encourage creating word problems are suitable for them.

• Logical learners enjoys puzzles, trivia, and relationships while also being able to easily perform mental arithmetic, strategy games, and abstract problems. Learning via technology comes in the form of learning games, word puzzles, and science experiments.

Keep in mind, nonetheless, that classroom tablets and computers are just tools of education – the teacher must be able to maximize the benefits of these tools for their students’ sake. The risks of using these tools are present in a learning environment, such as dependence on technology for learning, so a good balance must be achieved.

Use of Multimedia Approach in Learning

The presence of so many media including tablets, computers, and smartphone with their dozens of web applications has encouraged educators to incorporate urban computing, as the set of technologies are known, into their education programs. Such multimedia approach in learning – or teaching, for that matter – has its fair share of costs and benefits with the benefits outweighing the costs.

The multimedia approach can create and disseminate a vast array of information while also providing students with access to it. Educators have the opportunities to improve on the learning process, cater to several learning styles at once, and provide meaningful support for their students, among other benefits.

The assumption, of course, is that the multimedia approach is applied with the appropriate knowledge and skills. The emphasis is on the fact that classroom tablets and computers are just tools – their efficacy in meaningful learning lies in the teachers’ facilitation of their use among students. Good tools plus good use equals good learning while good tools plus bad use equals ineffective teaching.

Also, the choice of media used in the classroom should be made wisely. The media used should allow for better communication between students and teachers, for complementation of educational approaches, and for dissemination of information among a wider audience, among other traits.

The children of today also have short attention spans partly caused by the prevalence of multiple media from television to websites, which usually provide information at a faster speed than the pre-computer age. Educators will then find it frustrating that children who can spend hours on video games cannot sit still for a 30-minute classroom discussion.

Instead of succumbing to their frustrations, however, educators can utilize technology for learning purposes. With so many websites and applications to choose from, this should be an easier task than expected but the key is to start now!


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