Why should you be using the Internet for your child’s education?

By Karthik Ramaswamy.

Every student has a time in life where he feels academically challenged – I myself was faced with that dilemma during the time I was applying to different Universities to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. There is a certain overflow as well as a lack of information one finds in today’s education system: It has become more of a business, and people fail to understand WHY learning and schools were invented in the first place. The essence of learning something lies in curiosity – if you are genuinely curious about a topic, there’s no way you can’t learn more about it. That curiosity is sometimes self-generated, but most of the time, needs to be inculcated – which is why learning about something is very different in comparison to doing well in an exam and scoring marks.

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/2281

At the end of the day, both go hand in hand. Genuine interest fosters a hunger for knowledge, and later a desire to apply that knowledge – which is where exams come in – in places where you can test your understanding skills. And one has to agree; there is no better place to do that than the Internet.

I’m pretty sure many kids today are well acquainted with the net. I was nothing short of shocked when my 10 year old cousin came up to me and asked me about things i hadn’t even heard of before – which explains how much these kids really get out of digging around the internet. When I was in sixth grade, there was no option really, other than paying attention in class (or expensive personal tutors who, well, lets face it, really didn’t make kids learn the right way) and then preparing all by yourself for examinations. The only material you had was government-supplied textbooks that focused more on an examination point of view rather than actual learning. The skills needed for grasping more complicated concepts in science was only inculcated through active participation in competitive exams such as Olympiads.

Today, if i want to read about airplanes, I can go to Wikipedia and learn all about them the very same day. So much so, that within a month, I can take online lessons and match my knowledge to a graduate in aerospace. This vast, vast treasure trove of information comes with universities realizing that knowledge must be shared extensively – with more involvement from the student community, the internet continues to be an invaluable resource to students all over the world. But things are slightly different at the school level. Of course, one cannot simply start reading graduate level subjects out of interest. Moreover, it is very important that the ‘Base’ – fundamentals or ‘fundas’ as they are better known – must be absolutely concrete. And this can happen only at the school level. If they aren’t strong, the student will have to first build them later on – which is frankly a waste of time, and no student likes to go back to what he studied at the school level once he graduates from school.

Any kid can read a textbook, learn a few lines, write it in exams and get a good grade. But does that really help them? Not really. Because when they have to apply that knowledge, they fall behind people who use these other resources – and actually learn the subject. These ‘resources’ come in many shapes and sizes, but what is important is that they must be focused on making the student learn. Make him think, develop his curiosity and then challenge him with applications of what he learned – that way, he’ll not see it as an obligation, but as a fun activity that engages him in learning new things. Textbook knowledge is not at all enough, and most students find it boring to read the same thing again and again.

Don’t limit them as far as their education is concerned – it’s important that they pick up as much as they want (and need) to along the way. And with a toll as powerful as the Internet, the whole world is, quite literally, at their fingertips.

About the Author:

Karthik Ramaswamy is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from VIT university, Vellore. He is a captain at Assailing Falcons, VITU’s debut aero design team. He is a writer at the Brain Bought blog.

 About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

Make learning effective – address the misconceptions

By Shiv Shankar, Founder and CEO, LearnHive

Did you know that kids have strong misconceptions? Watching lecture based video lessons will not help the kids to learn the concepts. This was explained in an recent  article. An example of misconception is that kids believe that the earth is flat. When the (video) teacher explains that the earth is round, the kids imagine that it is like a pancake, round and flat. So, how do we solve this problem and make learning more effective?

It is very important to bring out the child’s misconceptions and replace it with the correct concepts. Following the above example, asking the question whether the earth is like a pancake and explaining that the earth is like a ball will remove the misconception. Derek Muller in his Ph.D. thesis explains the best ways to teach Physics by addressing the common misconceptions.

It is now time to abolish monologue lecture videos as a means to teach concepts. A concept can be taught very effectively if a student is included in the video and there is a dialogue with a student. The student in the video should actively ask questions to clarify the misconceptions. This will help the child who is watching the video to assume the role of the student in the video and activate mirror neurons leading to better learning. Arindam Nag, one of our co-founders has applied this principle and did an excellent job of explaining the concept of infinity to his daughter. You can watch this awesome infinity concept YouTube video .

What common misconceptions do your children have? Share the misconceptions with us and we will help you to  teach the correct concepts.

I have given some references below if you are interested in exploring further.

References:

  1. “Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the classroom.”- Book: How people learn?
  2. Mental Models of the Earth:  A Study of Conceptual Change in Childhood
  3. Expert gently asks whether Khan’s Academy videos promote meaningful learning
  4. Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education
  5. Mirror Neuron – wiki
  6. Learnhive video – Concept of Infinity

About the Author:

Shiv Shankar (shiv@learnhive.net) is the co-founder and CEO of LearnHive. He cofounded Learnhive committed to creating a unique knowledge ecosystem which will make it easy to create, organize, share and obtain learning materials for K-12 education.

 About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).