Turbocharged teen brain
Is e-learning the key to unlocking genius?
We probably can’t completely divorce Junior from the boob tube, but he doesn’t have to become a vegetable or couch potato either. IPods, Nintendo and PlayStation are just some of the gizmos that are part of the fast-food, fast-track and techno-hungry youth culture. As gadgets continue to infiltrate our lives, should parents shun them? Mum and Dad hear this: e-learning can turn dull schoolwork into a fun and interactive exercise, with benefits that can turbocharge your child’s grey matter.

Dr Herbert Thomas the Head of the Division for e-Learning at the University of the Free State defines e-learning as: “the integrated use of information and communication technologies in the design and delivery of curriculum.”  This mouthful may include tools your teen sees as leisure activities such as social networking products.

According to Dr Jill Fresen, Project Manager of the Department for Education Innovation at the University of Pretoria: e-learning uses a variety of technologies, such as email, Web-based resources, CD-ROMs, SMSs, video and audio. These tools facilitate and enhance the effectiveness and meaningfulness of learning.

Dr Fresen sums up the advantages as follows: “(e-learning) provides convenience for students in terms of learning at their own place, time and pace - this is known as 'anywhere anytime' learning. Students can go over the material as many times as they wish - the rich collection of resources and the ability to re-use them enhances learning.”  

In the world of e-learning, you have knowledge at your fingertips. It is learning that cuts across different learning styles and preferences, for example – visual and auditory learners, Dr Fresen explains.

Are you a parent that prefers to be cast into the mould of “technophobes”, do you use the old typewriter instead of a computer? Then the thought of your kids utilising the internet for research probably scares you. Well if you don’t know your portals from your vortals, this should be a great motivation to come out of the cave.

Computers don’t necessarily equal mischief, they can provide “newer social networking tools, such as blogs, wikis and podcasts (that) promote social and collaborative learning methods,” says Dr Fresen.

Is social networking a learning opportunity? Or will e-learning only end in mischief?

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