Accessibility options
inspiring learning through technology

How children like to learn

How children like to learn

Introducing technology into learning can help a child or young person in many ways. At one level we all exist in a technologically driven world and the more familiar young people are with technology the better it will be for them as individuals but also for their future employment options and opportunities.

However technology provides very specific options and benefits for young people in their school learning too. Not all children learn in the same way or at the same rate and technology is uniquely able to help children equally. Learning with a device, when properly supported by a teacher, can offer children various ways of absorbing information – through watching a film, perhaps, or through discussing and exchanging information with other young people in a different country. Some young people don’t absorb information as quickly and having a device which they can take home enables them to go over subject matter again and as long as they need to.

On the other side of the same coin, technology can help those young people who are more able to grasp concepts to move further, faster and deeper with their understanding of a topic.

Teachers, with the right support, will increasingly be able to respond and support all levels and types of learning. Increasingly children will be able to determine their own learning. This is yet to happen in any major way in the UK but teachers will more rarely stand in front of a class and teach the same lesson to all of the children in the class. A teacher will work in an individual child-centred way by creating an environment in which children are motivated to discover new skills and knowledge for themselves. Teachers will no longer simply transfer facts into passive students’ heads but rather facilitate their discovery of relevant information. Classrooms will instead offer different activity centres around a room with children moving from place to place, or students might be assigned to work together in different groups on a different aspect of a shared project. Relatively little whole-class teaching takes place; rather teachers use methods such as peer tutoring, individual and group projects, and enables the teacher to focus on individual students with the rest of the class engaged separately.

When 2,417 children were asked by Ipsos Mori how they preferred to learn, the top four answers were:

  1. In groups
  2. By doing practical things
  3. With Friends
  4. By using computers

With the lowest scoring answers including:

  • By practising
  • In silence
  • By copying

When these same children were asked how they actually did most often in class the top two answers were:

  • Copy from the board or a book
  • Listen to a teacher talking for a long time

As one one of the Foundation’s Trustees’ says “I can’t give a history teacher a time machine but I can use the web to give children a close-up view of what life was like in a different age. I can’t give a geography teacher a teleporter but I can show a youngster what it would be like to be in the Alps at this very moment”.