How technology and play can power high-quality learning in schools

school students

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: John Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, The LEGO Foundation


  • Education technology is exploding, expected to reach $342 billion in 2025.
  • Learning through play has a critical role in education and in preparing children for challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Creating a playful learning environment with technology can tap into children’s natural ability to learn through play – and develop the rapid learning skills essential today.

Education systems around the world will need to evolve to better meet the needs of a rapidly evolving economy and society.

Unfortunately, many education systems remain outdated – designed for old industry models and societies of the past. In addition, national economic reform often prioritizes upskilling the current labor market to transfer between jobs, in both old and emerging industries, rather than investing in the future of our economy by reforming the education system.

While traditional education metrics of literacy and numeracy are vital, society also requires learners to have a range of holistic skills to thrive in the modern world. These include creative, technology, innovation and interpersonal skills. And today, these skills and knowledge need to be acquired in a more accessible, personalized and active way than ever before.

 

The amount spent globally on education technology is expected to increase approximately $342 billion by 2025 as EdTech is globally considered as a viable way to address increasing and changing learning demands. Technology can support classrooms, schools and education systems to evolve at the pace required to better serve learners in 2020. However, the U.K.’s Education Endowment Foundation stresses that technology itself is unlikely to improve young people’s learning. Many EdTech solutions and services simply digitize old ways of working, re-enforcing rote learning and other practices more suited to the past. These practices rarely support the development of skills and knowledge in an effective and engaging way. This challenge is sometimes referred to as the race between technology and education, where education either tries to catch up and capitalize on advances in technology or technology enslaves education into learning paradigms of the past by digitizing old ways of working.

In parallel, research has repeatedly underscored that learning through play has a critical role in education and in preparing children for challenges and opportunities throughout their lives. A growing body of evidence supports learning through play as fundamental for children’s positive development, serving as an essential way to foster a range of holistic skills required to thrive in today’s world. Thinking deeply about how to apply what makes a quality playful experience to technology (including EdTech) solutions can provide a powerful lens to ensuring that the technology or the technology experience provides a mechanism or context for high quality and deep learning to take place.

Education 4.0
Image: World Economic Forum

Purposeful learning through play experiences can be constructed through a range of active pedagogies to create deeper learning experiences that a child will remember and internalize. Evidence suggests that learning through play happens when the activity is experienced as joyful, helps children find meaning in what they are doing or learning, involves active, engaged, minds-on thinking, as well as iterative thinking (experimentation, hypothesis testing, etc.) and has opportunities for social interaction. Learning through play with technology, including hybrid play (experiences that combine digital and physical), provides opportunities for young learners to acquire knowledge across a variety of contexts while developing a range of holistic skills, such as cognitive, creative, physical, social and emotional skills.

When students learn through play with technology, the learning gains appear to be the most significant when the experience is guided, with adults or peers providing a supportive role. This guided experience often occurs through active pedagogies (such as project-based approaches), which give children the opportunity to make independent choices in their own learning (or agency) and to create their own physical and/or digital artifacts with special meaning to them.

Technologies designed to fully embrace opportunities for agency, guidance and creation while allowing playful interaction are some of the most powerful tools we have to support high-quality learning today. Examples of such technologies include creative coding platforms such as Scratch where children have an opportunity to create their own stories, games and animations with the support of an on-line community; open ended sandbox games such as Minecraft where children build and explore vast virtual worlds with their peers); robotics systems of play such as LEGO MINDSTORMS that allow children to work collaboratively to build robots to solve complex problems); and other technologies that allow the digital augmentation and sharing of physical creations, such as digital animation, podcasting, video editing and online publishing.

What is the World Economic Forum doing to improve digital intelligence in children?

The latest figures show that 56% of 8-12-year-olds across 29 countries are involved in at least one of the world’s major cyber-risks: cyberbullying, video-game addiction, online sexual behaviour or meeting with strangers encountered on the web.

Using the Forum’s platform to accelerate its work globally, #DQEveryChild, an initiative to increase the digital intelligence quotient (DQ) of children aged 8-12, has reduced cyber-risk exposure by 15%.

In March 2019, the DQ Global Standards Report 2019 was launched – the first attempt to define a global standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness across the education and technology sectors.

Our System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Media, Information and Entertainment has brought together key stakeholders to ensure better digital intelligence for children worldwide. Find our more about DQ Citizenship in our Impact Story.

Creating a playful learning environment with technology will not deter children from learning the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. On the contrary, creating engaging environments is an opportunity to tap into children’s natural ability to learn through play, while utilizing the transformational power of technology to develop learning experiences that facilitate the rapid learning essential in society today.

By leveraging technology to enhance what we know works in education – such as learning through play – we will not only help revolutionize education systems, but also ensure our children are empowered to thrive now and in the future.

We can do this by embracing playful interventions with technology and writing a new narrative on Education 4.0.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

‘Informing is not a crime’ UN chief calls for better protection of journalists, press freedom

Conference on Future of Europe should start “as soon as possible in autumn 2020”

As the inventor of copy and paste dies, here are other computing innovations we take for granted

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

More than 30 years of US trade with China, in one chart

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

EU Commission expects consumer spending to unlock growth

When nations work together, hope prevails and collective solutions can be found – UN chief tells Peace Forum, marking World War centenary in Paris

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

MEPs vote to limit negative impact of no-deal Brexit on citizens

Joint advocacy letter template to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Autumn 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: immigration and climate change remain main concerns at EU level

Key elements of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

Tributes for ‘role model’ former UN refugee agency chief, Sadako Ogata

Affordable, accessible and safe medicines for all: the Commission presents a Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe

Afghanistan extends ceasefire with Taliban; UN urges both sides to work towards lasting peace

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

Green Deal: Coal and other carbon-intensive regions and the Commission launch the European Just Transition Platform

The new North America trade deal USMCA punishes German cars

Veteran public official from Portugal elected to lead UN migration agency

Why law enforcement and businesses need to join forces to fight global cybercrime

Logo Mania: A call to action to our crisis of connection

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by violations of UN-backed ceasefire in Libya

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

NEC @ European Business Summit 2014: The Digitally Enabled Grid

Cybersecurity should be a source of hope, not fear. Here are 5 reasons why

Which role does art play in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Vestager vs. Google: a fight to ensure a competitive innovation framework

A voice from Syria: the positive prospect of clinical research despite the excruciating circumstances

Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’ could save lives and cut pollution, says report

This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

Clean energy will do to gas what gas has done to coal

Eritrea sanctions lifted amid growing rapprochement with Ethiopia: Security Council

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak

Palestinian students ‘compelled to drop dreams because of financial cuts’

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

IPCC reports devastating climate consequences; US in denial while EU does not fully support the 2050 net zero emissions target

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

It’s Time to Disrupt Europe, Digital First

UN chief encourages victims of terrorism to ‘raise up their voices’

How companies can build resilience against pandemics

€200 million to promote European agri-food products in and outside the EU

The ‘American Dream’ can be best achieved in the Nordic nations, says Finland’s PM

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

How the United States is falling in love with secondhand clothes

UN health agency launches week of action to ban lead paint

Parliament endorses landmark EU-Japan free trade agreement

Mental health in midst of a pandemic: can we help?

To keep track of the SDGs, we need a data revolution

5 trends in the global economy – and their implications for economic policymakers

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s