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Photo: Malte Wingen
For children today, technology is integrated into their lives as a given – at a very young age they’re completely proficient at using laptops, tablets, and gaming devices for entertainment and information.
This means that there’s more emphasis than ever before on the benefits of using EdTech (educational technology) tools in schools. But in the classroom, is all technology the right fit for all students? Or should educators and parents be paying attention to providing each child with EdTech that’s best suited to the way they learn?
Children Learn Differently
Children are all individuals and just like adults have a unique style of learning. When it comes to setting children up for success in school and later in life, we need to identify their primary way of learning and support them through their education.
We can break learning down to four styles: auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. It’s important to keep in mind that while one of these styles of learning may be more dominant, both children and adults often use a combination of all four.1
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners are able to follow a more traditional method of teaching. They learn well by listening to instruction and direction and then repeating what they heard in order to recall this information. They often learn new material by reading it out loud to themselves.
Very young children who are auditory learners like to listen to music and can easily remember the words to songs. They would rather have someone read to them than sit down and read alone. They need to be able to hear in order to effectively learn. Auditory learners of all ages often work through problems by logically talking through each of the steps.
If they’re given instructions that are too long and complicated, speaking and writing down the instructions in a linear fashion helps them process the information.2
For educators, the auditory student is the one that isn’t shy to ask questions, repeating questions until they have the answers they need. Auditory students do well with many non-tech teaching methods, such as flash cards, verbal spelling tests, and participating in group discussions.
Now that students of all ages have an endless variety of EdTech tools being introduced into the classroom, what tech tools are best for the auditory student?
Tech Tools That Promote Auditory Learning
Technology has changed the way students are learning in the classroom, providing them with EdTech tools that engage them and teach them in ways that appeal to their learning style. Here are a few of the tech tools that educators and parents can use to engage the auditory learner.
Audio books are a great opportunity for auditory learners to learn new information. New titles and new information are consistently being added. Not only can children listen to audio books in the classroom, they can listen anytime and anywhere.
Teachers and parents can find educational audio books at both school and public libraries, and they can find books based on age and grade. Other audio book sources include:
Audible Canada, affiliated with Amazon, currently has over 3,000 educational and reference audio books available for children. Books are available for a wide variety of topics, such as “Negative Nine” by Amy K. C. S. Vanderbilt, which is the first book in a series that introduces children from ages 0 to 10 to the concept of negative numbers in math.3
Canadian Home Education Resources (CHER)
A resource for home schooling, CHER has a small selection of educational audio books for purchase, such as their “Mystery of History” series. Students in the middle grades can take notes as they listen, while younger auditory learners can draw pictures.4
Auditory learners of all ages can easily download podcasts to tablets, computers, and mobile devices to listen to both in the classroom and at home. The clarity and intimacy of listening to a podcast allows auditory students to connect and listen without interruption as they absorb and process information. Brainson! is one of the popular podcasts where children 6 to 12 years old will love hearing about all topics that are science-related, from the science of cooking all the way to the weirdness of water.5
Software and Apps
There are some interesting software and apps available that can help make it easier for auditory students to learn in the way that best suits their style:
Ideal for middle and high school, Natural Reader converts text to audio, so the auditory student can listen, rather than read. They can process information through sound, pausing and repeating until they understand before moving on.6
Not only can students listen to podcasts, they can create their own. PodOmatic lets auditory learners create their own unique podcast. This is a great way for younger students in grade school to create podcasts on subject matter that they’re learning. The process of speaking as they create reinforces their learning style.7
Tech Tools For All Learners
When we can provide students with the right tech tools to match their own unique learning style, we’ll set them up with the skills they need to succeed. Recognizing that each student is an individual who learns at a different pace, using different teaching techniques, opens up opportunities for them to fall in love with learning.
Children will be exposed to a wide variety of new and innovative tech tools in the coming years – if we can get away from the concept that “what’s good for one student is good for all”, we’ll be able to reach students in schools across Canada using educational technology that’s more streamlined to their unique learning style.
1Michell, M. (2017, September 25). Kinesthetic, Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Oh My! What Are Learning Modalities and How Can You Incorporate Them in the Classroom? Edmentum. Retrieved on March 15, 2019 from https://blog.edmentum.com/kinesthetic-visual-auditory-tactile-oh-my-what-are-learning-modalities-and-how-can-you-incorporate
2Hans, SS. (2016, December 05). The Best Strategies For Your Learning Stylesthetic, Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Oh My! What Are Learning Modalities and How Can You Incorporate Them in the Classroom? Ryerson University Student Life. Retrieved on March 15, 2019 from https://studentlife.ryerson.ca/the-best-strategies-for-your-learning-style/
3Audible Canada. (n.d). Audible Canada. Accessed on March 15, 2019 from https://www.audible.ca/?ref=a_search_t1_nav_header_logo&pf_rd_p=43e33988-f817-42c2-95e0-c1b3d05537b9&pf_rd_r=B657ZXMD2GPTW6TGRCQY&
4CHER. (n.d). Canadian Home Education Resources. Accessed on March 15, 2019 from https://www.canadianhomeeducation.com/
5Brainson. (n.d). Brainson. Accessed on March 15, 2019 from https://www.brainson.org/
6Natural Reader. (n.d). Natural Reader. Accessed on March 15, 2019 from https://www.naturalreaders.com/
7PodOmatic. (n.d). PodOmatic. Accessed on March 15, 2019 from https://www.podomatic.com/