Technology continues to advance to meet today’s demands, such as COVID testing, telehealth treatment, and PPE manufacturing and distribution. As that happens, we also need to pay attention to how we can use technology to help young children struggling with distance learning. The prolonged isolation has thrown a wrench into the routines of young children. These routines consist of socialization, classroom learning, and playing outside are crucial to their development and well-being. Here’s a list of technologies for learning and development.
Being the study of the brain and nervous system, neuroscience is one of the more preferred scientific fields for improving learning and development.
The Halo Sport by Halo Neuroscience is a program composed of a headset called the Halo Sport and Primers, which are small foam spikes on the headband of the Halo Sport. The Primers release gentle electric pulses to the wearer’s brain during use. These pulses are supposed to stimulate the brain and speed up the learning process. This is known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The program is based on neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to make new neural connections while learning.
Athletes use the program for warming up their brains before games or workouts. Those practicing other hobbies such as music and art can also use the program while practicing. Piano instructors, for instance, can fit their students with the headset to help them learn faster.
Medical practitioners are also using brain stimulation – particularly deep brain stimulation – to treat other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
But Halo Sport isn’t the only company specializing in the creation of tDCS. Swedish manufacturer Flow Neuro science uses similar technology, but their aim is different. Whereas Halo Neuroscience is geared towards improving cognitive and physical performances, Flow Neuroscience uses tDCS to treat mental illnesses such as depression and other problems related to and comorbid to it.
Flow Neuroscience also recently acquired Halo Neuroscience. In acquiring Halo, Flow Neuroscience hopes to advance their research on using tDCS to treat depression and other mental health problems related to and comorbid to it.
Learning and physical activity
In an age when tech innovators are scrambling to make more sustainable alternatives to everything, the Green Read and Ride Program was born. The program involves setting up The Green Microgym’s Read and Ride stationary bikes in classrooms. Each bike has a book stand on the handlebar so that kids can read as they ride. While plugged into the wall, the bikes capture and convert the rider’s energy into electricity to power the school. When pedaled consistently, the bikes “eco-charge” the school by giving back 10-30 watts of power.
But there’s more than just sustainability that’s motivating the program. Research shows that exercise enhances learning. This is important because the pandemic has impacted children’s lifestyles and made them lead more sedentary lifestyles. This can put them at risk for many health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The lack of physical activity could also contribute to future or even current mental health issues among these kids. Educators in schools that employ the Read and Ride Program report that their students feel calmer and more motivate dafter the exercise.
Of course, difficulties in budgeting distribution might make it impossible to get many children on the Green Read and Ride Program while they’re distance learning. Parents and educators need to make sure that children have enough time in their daily routines for school, exercise, rest, and play.
Technology for students with disability
Advancements in the use of technology to enhance learning and development must include assisted learning technology or technologies for students with disabilities. Science has made significant strides in this area, too. Apart from text-to-speech tools and talking calculators, other technologies help children with learning disabilities.
Robot manufacturer Sphero, known for their Star Wars-themed robots, has a line of STEM robot toys designed for kids in the classroom. Specifically, the line was designed for kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of the most common learning disabilities. Common traits of those with ASD include discomfort around other humans and difficulty communicating and expressing themselves. Sphero’s robot toys help with that by engaging students with ASD, boosting their confidence in their skills. The technology also sparks interest in STEM in these children, encouraging them to pursue STEM-related interests.
Children with learning disabilities or otherwise need special considerations from their parents and teachers during this difficult time. Many have struggled to adjust to distance learning. It also doesn’t help that distance learning doesn’t allow much time for other activities that children need, such as play and exercise.
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