‘Written by Sophie Davidson in collaboration with Hope Education’ -Ed.
Accessibility has been one of the driving forces behind the sweeping changes made in various technological fields over the last decade or so. The way we access entertainment, information and new technology itself, has changed beyond measure. Nowhere is that more evident, than in the way kids interact with devices at home and in the classroom.
Children born from the late 1990s onwards, are known as ‘digital natives’. Touchscreens, tablets, smartphones are as familiar to them as pens and paper, to those of an older generation. That throws up some interesting possibilities when it comes to the way we tell stories. While there’s still a place for traditional, much-loved storybooks and accessories – a quick look at learning suppliers retailer Hope Education, shows that there’s still plenty of demand for those – the way children gobble up new stories and experiences is changing, and fast. Here’s how:
The words we use are changing
While new technology may not be responsible for our language evolving, it has certainly acted as a catalyst. Terms like ‘LOL’, ‘sad face’ and so on, have arisen thanks to social media, and new children’s literature is changing to reflect that. Many contemporary stories use the language children can relate to most, while short-form communication, popularised on the likes of Twitter and Facebook, is used by storytellers and teachers, to grab older students’ attention.
The internet gives a story background
The web is an incredible resource that will provide the answer to just about any question a child can think of. How did Charlie’s great glass elevator fly? Where is King’s Cross station, and what might it have looked like when Harry Potter boarded his train to Hogwarts? A couple of tablets dotted around the classroom are an invaluable aid to help kids get a fuller picture of the stories they’re exploring. TheJournal.com has more on the classroom tablet revolution.
Paper is being phased out
While story time is still a central tenet of any children’s class, and the book snug (or library) is still filled, bursting with books waiting to be discovered, tablets are still hugely popular among teachers. They allow for animated or interactive elements to engage kids who might otherwise be put off by pages of unappealing text. They can also be used by teachers to illustrate tricky concepts to pupils who are struggling to imagine something. One tablet is also much lighter than a stack of books, while an e-reader allows pupils to carry hundreds of stories around with them.
Augmented reality enhances imagination
As this Technavio article highlights, augmented reality (AR) technology will do even more to bring stories to life. As Gaia Dempsey, Managing Director of DAQRI International, explains, “80% of the information that the brain takes is visual. So by providing information in a visual medium that also has the spatial nature of augmented reality, you’re giving the brain a very intuitive way of accessing knowledge.”
Smartphone and tablet AR apps, as well as expensive AR headsets, are gaining traction as a way of bringing stories to life in the classroom.