Technology & Soft Skills: Reshaping the Future of Early Childhood Learning
By Tanja Spasojevic, General Manager of Ora, the Nursery of the FutureDubai, UAE, 23 March 2023: Without question, technology has caused deep transformation in social structures, and the rapidly evolving education landscape has not been spared by its impact.Community needs and social behaviour in all areas of public and private lives have changed dramatically brought about by cutting-edge innovations over the years, and so has the learning profile of students of all ages.As such, it is necessary more than ever to revisit educational methods to keep teaching relevant and redesign curriculums that objectively prepare young learners for what we call “the future” of learning. However, whilst intelligent tools continue to drive change, the future of learning should not be solely dependent on them and should go beyond harnessing their full potential.
Future of Learning: The Foundation
This principle is at the heart of Ora’s pioneer mission. We focus on a new approach to early childhood education that is an amalgamation of technologies and key interpersonal skills for kids to feel empowered, fulfilled and happy as they grow up. We expose children early on to concepts that are typically introduced at later ages.At Ora, we raise children’s early awareness of current events in all sectors of society and bring their attention to technologies such as 3D printing, coding and robotics. Being nested in the epicentre of Dubai’s – if not the world’s – most futuristic hub, it is not hard to find great examples of the latest innovations and ultra-modern projects where children can witness the future in the making.Exploration and DiscoveryFrom our experience, the youngest generation shows great familiarity with digital technology and children’s natural inclination to learn new things by exploring. This is the base of our methods.Technology brings a new kind of independence and creativity that, being responsibly monitored by adults, can be a great accelerator of children’s implicit learning in many areas of development such as numeracy and literacy.Exposing children to technology, with meaningful teaching purposes, develops early learning of new ideas and enhances natural understanding of concepts– giving them developmental advantages when compared to students who have not been exposed to them yet.
New digital tools also bring along new ways of thinking and connecting not only ideas but people and communities on a global level. Presently, we are living in the 4th Industrial Revolution, and we can see already how they have positively impacted our generation in physical, digital and biological worldsFrom an educational perspective, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the newest allies of early years education. They can even be instrumental in supporting inclusion for children of determination and strengthening education equity in disadvantaged countries.This does not mean, however, that technology will replace the role of parents and teachers. In fact, quite the opposite, especially when it comes to very young children, where emotional, social and communication skills are being deeply nurtured.Present and future technologies and their social, economic, cultural and environmental potential for new generations is undoubtedly tremendous. We can only anticipate with enthusiasm how humanity will transform and, at Ora, we couldn’t be more excited for our children.For now, the urgency is to modernise educational models, expose children to contemporary experiences, foster their talents and nurture their inquisitiveness and interest in creation and innovation. They will need these skills to live the future we are preparing for them and to become the adults who will continue to pave the way for generations to come.