eLearning For Kids: 5 Ways eLearning Is Positively Affecting Children Worldwide

The Importance Of eLearning For Kids

Eight hundred thirty-five thousand: That’s the number of hits Google claimed to just have found for the search term “eLearning for kids” as of this writing.

If you ask me, not as phenomenal as the 50.8 million search results the search engine dished out for the phrase “small business accounting”, but 835,000 results for online content on eLearning aimed at children shows that the eLearning industry is on the right track.

From inclusion in countries’ national agenda to attracting media mileage, eLearning for kids is on the upswing, something parents, educators, and technology advocates can all be excited about.

Take a look at some of the points below:

  1. Zero child labor in agriculture. 
    According to the ILO or International Labour Organization, six out of 10 child laborers worldwide, aged 5 to 17, “work in agriculture, including farming, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, and livestock”. The agency also insists that “agriculture is one of the three most dangerous sectors in terms of work-related fatalities, non-fatal accidents, and occupational diseases”. In line with this, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently launched an initiative to stop child labor in agriculture through the eLearning course End Child Labour in Agriculture. The course is described as “designed to raise awareness and build knowledge among agricultural stakeholders about the importance of addressing child labor in agriculture, including livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture”.
  2. Improvement of basic education in South Africa.
    People have a tendency to fear the unknown, which explains why change is oftentimes shunned. In the case of eLearning, there’s the misplaced notion that technology will automate teachers out of their jobs, which Michael Goodman of Via Afrika, an educational publishing company in the Africa region, strongly refutes. According to Goodman, technology enhances teaching through individualized learning and evaluation, not replace it. Via Afrika then thought to onboard teachers into the initiative through training on tablet-based learning and how to incorporate the concept into their teaching. The result: Better diagnostic scores from the Department of Basic Education compared to the previous year.
  3. Safeguarding against cyberbullying, online and offline exploitation.
    Online or offline, bullying is a huge problem, especially if it’s an adult bullying a kid who’s not adequately equipped to defend himself. If not nipped in the bud at the soonest possible time, bullying in any form can scar the victim for life. According to a news report by The National UAE, 25% of Abu Dhabi’s youngsters (pupils from the sixth to twelfth grade) are addicted to social media. The same report describes addiction as “spending more than two hours consecutively”. Using this same yardstick, it’s safe to say that a lot of children around the world are addicted to social media, which, needless to say, increases their risk of being cyberbullied. In a press release from the U.K.’s Department of Education regarding the government’s response to an online consultation that ran from December 2015 to February 2016, all schools are required to strengthen measures for protecting school children against cyberbullying, pornography, and the risk of radicalization. Included in these measures are the launch of a new online training for professionals who work with children, the release of updated social media practice guides by the U.K.’s Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCISS), and the launch of improved content on the Thinkuknow website by the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command. Me Learning, an online training site, created Bullying and Cyberbullying, a course designed for people who work with children, the youth, and their families. It aims to curb the negative repercussions of bullying and cyberbullying, as well as impart positive coping strategies for victims. The Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre (HREA) also released an eLearning course specifically for professionals responsible for implementing child safeguarding policies.
  4. eLearning for special needs students.
    For special needs students, interacting in a live classroom can trigger a whole set of difficulties. In the U.S., the deficit in the availability of options for special students eventually led to the formation of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program. The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD) is part of this program. The COLSD is tasked to research eLearning outcomes for special students with the goal of forming more effective online teaching methods. The road is a difficult one, but several successful eLearning outcomes where special students have benefited from eLearning or a blend of virtual and on-site learning, serve as inspiration:

    • Seph Koutsioukis is a student with autism and thrived through the online learning platform provided at South Carolina Connections Academy.
    • Jasmin Floyd benefited from a blended learning program, which helped her to graduate despite suffering from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a condition where muscles and other connective tissues form into extra bones, thereby causing pain and constrained movement.
    • Tessa Falcetta, who suffers from dysgraphia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was able to continue her education through online learning.
  5. eLearning centers for children of Syrian refugees and war-torn Sudan.
    The right to education is usually thrown on the backburner for people in conflict-afflicted areas. One example is the plight of Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon. In a 2013 release by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), 66 percent of 80 Syrian refugee children interviewed in focus groups were not enrolled in any learning institution. In response to this need, ITWORX Education launched their own eLearning program, to be set up inside Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. A pilot project was implemented in September 2015 in partnership with the Saad Nayel School situated in a refugee camp in the city of Shtoura. Since the successful pilot, ITWORX aims to expand its reach to other Syrian refugee children throughout Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, with the goal of getting 1 million children into school. To address learning challenges faced by a group of children in conflict-ridden Sudan, the non-government organization War Child Holland launched its own eLearning program in partnership with Sudan’s Ministry of Education and Flavour, a software developer. Figures resulting from the 2013 Sudan pilot showed that children who missed critical education phases learned mathematics faster and better through the tablet-based program than the traditional non-formal education model. Since the Sudan launch, War Child Holland is now exploring the possibility of expanding their help to Syrian children.

Final Word

Much still needs to be done, but great strides are being made to improve education through technology. As eLearning and especially eLearning for kids picks up steam, children around the world are poised to reap even greater benefits.

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