Last updated: 23.04.13

Interactive technology 'helps children to learn'

Technology can be beneficial to learning in children and the more interactive the educational process is, the better.

This is according to a new study carried out at the University of Wisconsin, which examined the behaviour of kids between the ages of two and three and discovered they were more likely to play on video screens that prompted a response, the BBC reports.

Leader of the research Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor in human development and family studies at the institution, explained touch screens could hold great educational potential for toddlers.

"Kids who are interacting with the screen get better much faster, make fewer mistakes and learn faster," she was quoted as saying.

The study, which was presented at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, indicated the more interactive a screen is, the more real and familiar it seems to toddlers.

When another test related to word learning was conducted on the same group of participants, the results were repeated, showing how advantageous technology could be to education and not just in two and three-year-olds, but also in later life.

Indeed, tablets and other advanced IT systems are beginning to become a regular feature of many primary and secondary schools around the UK, with lots of institutions turning to online training and developing their own virtual platforms.

Among these schools are Broomhouse Primary, Sciennes Primary, Forrester High and Gracemount in Edinburgh, which all rolled out netbooks or tablets to pupils at the end of March.

Helen Moylett, president of Early Education, a charity that seeks to improve teaching practices for kids under five, said she does not have a problem with exposing children to devices like mobile phones and tablets.

She explained: "They can be really helpful and interesting tools if used in the right place to help us learn - and not all the time, or instead of other things."

This comes after recent research from Stirling University's school of education revealed the attitude of many British families to technology at home is an important factor in influencing a child's relationship with it.