From Screen To Brain: Making Learning Fun and Interactive
Enfagrow A+ Four’s Homeschooling Hub releases interactive flashcards for kids
As we adapt to the new normal, parents, schoolchildren, and educators are going through a lot of adjustments. Enfagrow A+ Four’s Homeschooling Hub has consulted with Dr. Ma. Rochelle Pacifico, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, to create interactive digital flashcards that will help make learning more fun and interactive for kids during the pandemic.
Homeschooling and Online Schooling: What’s the Difference?
Many people use these terms interchangeably, and it’s an understandable confusion. Regular schooling is what we are most familiar with. “It’s the traditional way of learning in the classroom, following the Department of Education’s standard of curriculum, where the teacher delivers the instruction to the children,” said Dr. Pacifico.
As for homeschooling, Dr. Pacifico explains: “You’re still following Dep Ed’s recommendations, only this time it’s delivered at home. It’s the parent or a dependable adult who assumes the role of teacher, instructor, or facilitator. There’s a lot of flexibility here in the sense that the parent and the child have the leeway of creating their own schedule and paces for learning.”
And then we have online distance learning, also known as online schooling or virtual schooling, which is what most students are doing right now in the pandemic. “There is a modification in the standard curricula set by the Dep ED so that this can be delivered in real time via teacher online. It consists of a synchronous type of session, where the teacher, together with the class, are logged in online and the teacher delivers the instruction to everyone. Instances off- or online, when the children are required to work on assigned activities individually, are called asynchronous sessions.”
The supervision of an adult is needed in both scenarios. Even when there is an online teacher involved, the parent or guardian acts as the co-manager or co-facilitator.
Making Learning Fun and Interactive
Transitioning from regular to either homeschooling or online distance learning can be exciting at the onset, but as the weeks go by, parents should expect challenges. “How do we continue to sustain a child’s interest while making sure they do not become addicted to gadget use in the process? Equally important is how do we develop the kids to become self-directed learners?” Dr. Pacifico asked. “We have to give them the proper materials to prepare them for the role and just enough supervision to get them started and going.” Homeschooling or online distance learning need not be constricted to workbooks.
“We can draw from their experience in using pretend and manipulative toys, art materials, and musical instruments, making them creative and imaginative as they apply the lessons learned!” Dr. Pacifico said. “Boardgames can promote problem solving, while incidental learning can be supported by word guessing games or trivia card games played with family and friends.”
Flashcards are effective educational materials that target executive function skills. Dr. Pacifico together with Kids Unplugged designed digitalized flashcards for Enfagrow A+ Four’s Homeschooling Hub. The cards, which are targeted to kids at least three years of age, are divided into three main activities: “Can You Name This?”, “What’s Different?”, and “What’s Wrong?”. The cards promote auditory processing, comprehension, attention, sequencing, and working memory in the kids. The child’s vocabulary, analytical thinking, and sentence construction skills can also be enhanced while playing with the cards.
Regulating Screen and Gadget Time
Dr. Pacifico suggests limiting the use of the digital flashcards to one hour per day. Because we are stuck at home amid the pandemic, we can expect an increase in screen time or gadget use. But limits should still be set.
According to the Philippine Pediatric Society, leisurely gadget time or screen time should be set to a maximum of 30 minutes per day for toddlers (aged 1.5 to two years), one to two hours for kids up to five years old, and up to three hours for kids aged 6-10. For adolescents (above 10 years old), it should not exceed four hours per day.
“We want to educate the parents of the dangers of excessive screen time on the children’s memories, learning, and behavior,” Dr. Pacifico said. “What should be prioritized is the use of these gadgets for learning or schooling.” When parents learn to maneuver their way around the digital platform and regulate their child’s gadget use, educational materials such as digital flashcards can enhance parent and child interaction and learning, especially during the pandemic when outdoor activities are restricted.
Fun and interactive learning will add stability to an otherwise difficult time, and will help parents raise healthy and smart kids with a heart right from the start.