The Benefits Of Integrating eLearning Into Primary School Science Lessons

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Published: 08th April 2015
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he value placed on incorporating eLearning into many fields of education has seen a tremendous increase in recent years. eLearning is a broad term used to describe electronic media and virtual teaching materials. The extent of eLearning tools available is vast, since it includes forms of audio material, images, animations, videos and text. Although there have been many web-based eLearning activities created, it is not the only form on offer; CD-ROMS, audio tapes, video tapes and television can all be mediums through which this special learning style can be delivered.

eLearning is particularly effective in primary schools, not least because one of its great advantages is that it is extremely engaging, naturally interactive and incorporates many different techniques to suit the various learning styles. Although there are a lot of children who will already be familiar with technology from a young age, it provides children with wider access to these new opportunities, whether they are already tech-savvy or have not had as much experience with such equipment.

There is much value in using eLearning in primary school science lessons in particular. It is a fantastic way for teachers to show pupils the many different aspects of science in the curriculum, but it also allows children to appreciate certain features on a much wider level as well. For example, virtual experiments can be shown, or set up, for the children to conduct themselves. This provides an ideal supplement to practical projects, either by offering additional visual material as well as materials the teacher already uses, such as written text.

Furthermore, experiments can be shown that the school would usually be unable to set up themselves, particularly if there are constraints in terms of time or available resources. As a result, pupils can become familiar with experimental procedures, even if not conducting the experiment themselves. By using eLearning video tools, students can also watch experiments progress at a much faster rate than if they waited for results in the classroom, because observed events can be recorded straight away and put together to show the experiment's progression. This provides teachers with more time to ensure that their pupils have a full understanding of the events that are unfolding, rather than always having to conduct the experiment in the classroom.

Improved communication in the classroom is another great advantage of eLearning in science lessons. Depending on the resource being used, children are encouraged to work together and communicate with each other to solve a problem or discuss the results of an experiment. At the same time, it also enables teachers to effectively monitor their pupils' progress, since this can be shown when children complete various tasks. It does not matter whether eLearning is used as an activity at school, or whether it constitutes some of the homework tasks given to children to complete in their own time.

eLearning certainly enhances the educational experiences of children and adults alike, but introducing it at primary school level is definitely advantageous and extremely worthwhile. Children obtain a much more extensive knowledge on a chosen topic than they may otherwise have, given inevitable limitation on time and resources available in standard classroom lessons. Depending on the task in hand, it encourages children to not only work and think independently when completing tasks, but also to co-operate with their classmates and teachers. Importantly, it can be used to appeal to many different learning styles and creates a sense of fun and excitement around the given topic to be studied, engaging everyone together. What's more, it is an extremely enjoyable way to inspire pupils.

Hannah McCarthy is Education City's schools marketing manager. Education City develops web based eLearning tools, offering curriculum-based Key Stage 1 science activities, printable worksheets and teaching resources.

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