There has been a fierce debate amongst parents and educators about the use of technology in early learning. A lot of educators have been worried about the use of too much technology thinking that it might limit social interactions and have other negative consequences on young children. Lisa Guernsey, directore of the Learning Technolgies Project and the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation, and Michael H. Levine, the executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, have written a book about the challenges of building reading skills in the digital age.
Levine states that "there's so much evidence that reading is a powerful predictor for all that follows, both academically and in terms of success in the job market." And that there is also a reading crisis around the world as children do not seem to have the age-appropriate reading skills anymore.
It is important to find the right balance for the use of technology though. Media has to be used in a healthy way, meaning that parents and educators should also be involved in their children's learning experiences with technology as research has shown that social interactions are absolutely essential for children's learning success.
"But that is something that doesn't only happen when children are reading a print book; those kinds of social interactions can happen around media of all kinds. So one of our big messages is to promote the idea of learning together, using media for both parents and children to engage together around ideas and stories."
Read the full interview here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/09/how_to_use_technology_to_impro.html
Wow, what an intriguing headline! It seems that at the moment everyday there are new studies being published regarding the countless benefits of growing up #bilingual. It not only makes us better communicators or hightens our ability to multi-task it may not have also long term health benefits.
"Trilingualism and full literacy in two languages is the goal for all students in Hong Kong's public education system. English and Chinese are taught at primary school and the city has at least 28 international kindergartens that teach in English and Putonghua - that's more than 70 per cent of preschools listed in the SCMP Good Schools Guide, reflecting strong demand for bilingual education among parents." What a great place for children to grow up in Hong Kong and to experience multilingual play in kindergartens and at home.Hongkong - a place where children traditionally grow up multilingually - does encourage and support early language acquisition for all their young pre-school and school children. If a language is acquired later in life the brain gets activated differently and the language cannot be acquired in quite the same way as a native speaker does.
The scientists are now equipped to measure more accurately activity in the brain and can prove some of their hypotheses. Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Laura-Ann Petitto shares her findings:
"We also saw spillover into other content areas: better mathematical processing, better on tasks that required complex relations," she says. "So this big language area has a spillover effect into giving the child higher cognitive advantages. These advantages are preserved across the lifespan."
Another team's research is now finding that bilingual brains are better protected from Alzheimer's disease, she adds."
Read more here: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1716250/bilingual-children-may-have-lower-alzheimers-risk
Our kids are very lucky today that we have access to so many wonderful educational and playful toys so that they can acquire new language skills in a more relaxed and fun way. Our team at "Discover English with Ben & Bella" has worked on an immersive multimedia English learning program which kids enjoy watching, interacting and playing with. Children love to use our sticker book over and over again or learn to sing along to English songs. Check out these fun games on our homepage: www.benandbella.com.
The debate has been going on for a long time - do kids need to start to be instructed at earlier ages to close the gap between disadvantaged and more privileged children? Will kids not be able to learn enough to be ready for the 21st century? These questions are a hot topic in education, schools, governments and parent groups.
"Ben & Bella" engages kids in a playful and fun way so that learning is not the key issue but being immersed or playing games that are actually interesting and engaging for the child. We developed our games, stories and programmes according to the newest research and ideas about immersive and natural learning. Children "learn" English in the same way as they learn their mother tongue - by hearing, mimicking and playing with words and sounds.The latest research suggests that early academic instruction does not provide long-term success but it might be actually the other way around. Children learn through play and play-based learning seems the way to go. Very early academic instruction might actually confuse kids and make them want to learn even less: Read more here in the NY Times.