Those notions that the internet has made some kinds of learning a thing of the past are very likely in process of being proved wrong. The web has certainly changed the possibilities for learning, and there are more channels and materials than ever before. But it’s far more likely that the ways of learning are still the same ones that the last generation had at their disposal. The thing that has shifts the most is the educational models that are available, and these are often the results of how a culture wants to represent itself to itself.
The idea of the book is one that is entirely in flux, where many people read the physical objects, but many more are using electronic versions of these objects. People do still read, and perhaps it’s even more than before, but the tools are different. This is very similar to what’s happening with the flash card. These have always been particularly effective for a certain type of learner. It combines a visual cue with a physical object and action, and even if the visual cue is purely typographic, it appeals to senses other than purely linguistic.
For those who fear that flash cards might go away in another generation, there are some signs that suggest this will not be the case at all. Although it seems somewhat obvious that the laptop computer has an attractive power to adults as well as very young children, the things that make it most useful for learning are virtual versions of the same methods as before. There are a number of very useful flash card directories, where parents can download and print their own versions, or use the laptop as a kind of virtual flash card. The mechanisms and reflexes for learning are still very much the same as they were before computers were invented.
So parents of small children can absolutely find ways to help the young ones learn, sites where kindergarten worksheets and other very useful tools are available. There are enough resources to keep learning interesting and fun for all the parties involved, with cool stuff on new websites all the time. If there is a big difference, it may just be one of access. Resources are more widely available now. It’s not just a matter of logging on and doing a little research, however. The most useful tools are still other people. Checking with a teacher about what might be best for a child will always be more fruitful than looking up opinions from unreliable sources. The benefits as well as the drawbacks are still the same, but the possibilities are much more open.
January 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm Comments (2)