Change is the law of nature. Some changes are planned, while some changes are thrust upon us. The disruption caused by COVID-19 and the deluge of change that followed was imposed upon us. The transformative change impacted the education system and students from all age groups–from kindergarten to postgraduates–were the first few to feel the heat of the new challenges as it literally pulled them out of their comfort zones.
The fact of the matter is that these changes are here to stay and as for mastering the technology, the sooner the better. As we all know, children are exposed to tech gadgets like mobile phones, video game consoles, etc., and start interacting with them at an early age, but systematic learning is something different.
Various articles and reports emphasize systematic teaching because it makes children resilient in the long run. The knowledge will be an asset for them as it will endow them with the most sought-after skills such as problem-solving, comprehending instructions, communicating, and creating new things. In technical terms, these technical skills are called Information Communication Technology (ICT) capabilities, which include basic knowledge and usage of the digital technologies around them. The requirement for each age group is different, but nowadays everything has been simplified so, learning technology has become a child’s play.
Let’s look at the five tech skills that children must know:
How to Use Devices, Emails
That the young generation starts interacting with technology at an early stage is a fact, but the current scenario turned leisure into compulsion by compelling children to move to online academic sessions instantly via computers, tablet/iPad, or mobile phone. Familiarity with these devices was not the issue, but a systematic knowledge was the challenge. A few basic tech skills – how to turn on a computer and how to shut it down; how to use log-in and password to join the sessions, how to check emails for assignments, and how to make a video call–are some of the important skills that children should gain. These basics will make your children independent.
The next step should be learning Word Processing, and one of the common word processing applications is Microsoft Word. Learning is all about practice, and the children can master word processing by practicing regularly. It would include everything–creating folders and files, writing/editing and saving files, and finally, giving print commands. Later, children can also learn other word processing applications such as Google Docs and Open Office.
A podcast is largely described as an audio content made available on the internet. We can download it to a computer or mobile device, and its consumption is on the surge in the US. According to The Infinite Dial 2020 from Edison Research and Triton Digital report, over one-third of Americans aged 12 and over (104 Million) are consuming podcasts regularly. Podcasts are engaging and a creative learning tool with various benefits – it helps the children in word recognition and improves listening comprehension. This is one aspect of a podcast. Children should also learn to create podcasts. Schools start teaching public speaking as early as the first grade and, therefore, it should be easier for the children to follow these steps to create podcasts.
Steps to Create a Podcast:
Topic – Start by selecting a favorite topic.
Format – discussion, interview, or storytelling.
Software – Audacity, Anchor, Garage Band, Adobe Audition, etc
Science Games and Activities
Children are natural learners and it is important to focus on their natural interest. It can be achieved via science games and activities because these games are engaging and introduce children to various aspects of technology starting from computers and the internet, robots and their types, and help in building tech vocabulary. Not just that it also helps in skill-building, simulation fluency, problem-solving and strategic thinking. For the younger ones, this activity offers both fun and learning.
A common question that comes to the mind is how early should kids learn to code? According to experts, ideally, 7-years-old can start learning to program basics, but nowadays, coding has been simplified so children can start much earlier. Thanks to some popular screen-free learning games such as Magnetic Tiles Coding Activity that teaches algorithms, sequencing, and debugging; rocket ship decomposition tells kids about decompositions and algorithms! Then you have another offline game that improves the executive functioning skills of children. Titled Coding Game Improving Executive Functions, it teaches essential programming skills of breaking down big tasks. There is a long list of such games and the parents’ vouch for them saying their children can’t get enough of it.
For a strong basis, they recommend a systematic learning approach, especially in technology as it helps in building a sound foundation of learning and empowers children with a better understanding of the technology.