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Using Humor in Children’s Learning Apps for Effective Learning

“If humor were a science, every child would enter the world with an honorary degree, Ph.D. of Hilarity.”

 

This statement by Karen Stephens, an instructor in child development at Illinois State University succinctly captures what humor means to children.  Humor is a bigger part of children development. For them, every opportunity to connect with others is a form of humor and play time. They easily latch on fun sights around them or create giggle worthy scenes to keep the fun rolling.

However, this doesn’t go down well with many adults who view childrens’ capacity to create humor out of every situation as unruly. Therefore, these adults often employ theatrics to bridle the kids’ enthusiasm, and are always vigilant to keep children showing humorous tendencies under control. Don’t get it all twisted, we believe that there’s a time and place for laughter, but we believe that it’s wrong to assume that kids should be conditioned to always remain calm and their sense of humor stifled.

According to Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D. ''Humor is key to every child's development“. Therefore, if adults do not recognize every stage of a child's development based on the particular humor traits peculiar to each child; and what is on the child's mind, then they are missing huge opportunity to foster child development gaps. What a waste to not participate in children's development. To better understand how humor plays a part at every stage of children's development, you have to look at it this “There is a connection between the 2-year-old who bursts into a fit of giggles upon hearing the nonsense phrase “bottle, battle, bittle” and the young adolescent who laughs at the bawdiness of an off-color joke.”¹. They both reacted to humor, but only at different stages of their life will the joke be sensible to them.

You can read more about humor ages and stages at schoolastic².

Humor is an early development tool helping us in adulthood to:

  • “see things from many perspectives other than the most obvious
  • be spontaneous
  • grasp unconventional ideas or ways of thinking
  • see things beyond the surface
  • enjoy and participate in the playful aspects of life
  • not take themselves too seriously” ³
  • boost health, especially on helping immune system and lowering depression
  • feed the brain

The importance of humor in child's development is enormous. It can aid the development of a happy child with high self-esteem that can handle different stresful life situations and have better social acceptance³.

Humor and Effective Learning

In classroom situations involving kids, there are teachers who have successfully merged teaching and humor together to make for effective learning among youngsters. One of them is Pamela Matway, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Sedgwick Middle School, in West Hartford, Connecticut who confessed that, “Humor must be used in the classroom. Joke, laugh, dance, sing, shout. I do it all; I think every teacher should. It helps kids stay focused on the lesson, and sometimes it even helps them remember ideas and motivates them. So stand up on that desk and tap dance while you give instructions, talk in an English accent, or sing the answers to a homework assignment.”

Still talking about child education and humor, it is important to say that learning should deliberately be made attractive and fun for kids if they are to find it attractive and fun. It is at this stage that learning apps and the incorporation of humor into them comes into play.

Learning apps have the capacity of making learning more real to children. It provides a better alternative to the non-colorful and fun bereft pen and paper option. Therefore, if every teacher’s goal is to be effective in the classroom and help children learn, learning apps should be used and humor should be incorporated into designing them to achieve this goal.

Pivot project

We made a small experiment with a group of pre-schoolers in May 2015 at Spansko in Croatia. With this experiment, we made learning apps with video rewards for good answers. These rewards were video clips “classic humor” from the 1930, 1940 like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and others.

Results were far above expectations. The scene that totally blew their mind was Charlie Chaplin eating shoe from “The Gold Rush” (1925), these kids were talking about it for days. From the experiment, we arrived at the following:

  • Girls were disinterested for humor with peers After using learning apps with humor they showed great interest for humor. We considered the burst in smile quantity for girls after using the apps, and this was our biggest achievement.
  • Boys learned what humor is, its boundaries, what is not right and what can hurt others.
  • Both, boys and girls learned writing and logic lessons for sequencing with learning apps instantaneously and the speed adopted in the lessons was fascinating.

Learning Apps and Humor

Learning apps can be designed on Gabriel’s Seeds – Learning App Generator to cover every subject from writing, to math, logic skills and others, and can equally come with humorous themes.

The software is structured in a way that users only require the basic knowledge of computer to design the learning apps of their choice. All it takes is just a registration with; a username, a password and a language of choice.

You can register here and start creating engaging apps with humor to make your students learn effectively.

To conclude, we are “taking kids’ humor seriously“³, therefore we have created “humor rich environment”³ in learning apps. You can download two samples of anagrams and math learning apps. Register here for your free account and click on the picture below.

 

 

 

Resources:

  1. https://psychcentral.com/lib/humor-as-a-key-to-child-development
  2. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/ages-stages-dont-forget-laugh-importance-humor/
  3. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/child-humor.html#
  4. https://www.education.com/magazine/article/funny-preschooler/
  5. http://www.horizoneducationcenters.org/blog/humor-helping-preschoolers-learn
  6. http://www.macrothink.org/journal/index.php/ije/article/view/4724
  7. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/laughter-learning-humor-boosts-retention-sarah-henderson
  8. http://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2001/06/04/a-teachers-sense-of-humor/
  9. http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/learning.aspx
Learning Apps and Humor
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