Learning to think in a digital age

A pyramid of digital engagement?

Young children learn about the world in a number of different ways. Sometimes they think through a problem and work it out, sometimes they try out different solutions until they find something that works and sometimes they learn best by watching and talking to the people around them.

Texting is killing language

In this fascinating talk, John McWhorter, a linguist and political commentator, argues that texting is not such a negative phenomenon. He views it as ‘miraculous’ – not just energetic, but a highly creative activity. He suggests that there’s much more to texting, linguistically and culturally, than there might seem. In relation to learning, the video demonstrates that children learn through ‘creating’ and ‘inventing’ new ways of communicating and exchanging ideas.
Multitasking as a new way of learning

Multitasking may not always be detrimental to learning. Some scientific studies (Cardoso-Leite and Bavelier, 2014; Granic, Lobel and Engels, 2014) have also shown positive effects of multitasking.

In video games, for example, children need to focus on several things at any one time and learn simply by trying things out and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Many video games rely on this type of trial-and-error learning, which offers regular rewards and reinforcements that improve learning. Researchers have found that playing video games can be beneficial as they can promote divided attention skills, a sound foundation for multitasking. Playing games can even help promote alertness, quick reactions and brain development.

 

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