Dialogues on Social Enterprise_Episode14

Learning without replacing human interactions and real-world exploration

by Maira Luordo, with the collaboration of Riccardo Casella

The advent of digital technology has radically transformed the educational landscape, introducing new ways of learning and teaching. As classrooms are enriched with interactive tools and traditional lessons are intertwined with online resources, profound reflections emerge on how to effectively balance technological innovation with classical education. The challenge is not only to integrate technology in a productive way, but to make it a bridge to meaningful learning, especially for pre-school children, aged 3 to 6, a crucial period for the development of cognitive and social foundations.

Addressing the digital-analogue pair in the educational context requires careful navigation, evaluating the opportunities offered by digital tools without losing sight of the importance of human interactions and tangible experiences. The question that arises is: how can we use technology to enrich education while promoting healthy child development?

The answer to this question requires close collaboration between educators and families, a shared responsibility in creating learning environments that are safe, stimulating and inclusive. Exploring interactive methodologies and technologies in the classroom thus becomes a joint exploration, with the aim of preparing children to become aware and competent digital citizens, ready to face the world around them with curiosity and criticism.

Interactive teaching

The new tools introduced by technological advancement make it possible to apply interactive teaching methodologies that actively involve students in the educational process. In doing so, participation, collaboration, critical thinking and engagement are promoted among students. This approach has become a powerful tool in modern education, in contrast to the passive learning of traditional lessons. Interactive teaching materials can be easier to understand and handle during early childhood learning. Interactive teaching is not a single method, but emerges as a set of practices that follow the same approach.

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) places the student at the centre of the learning process, stimulating curiosity by asking questions, exploring topics and seeking answers through inquiry and critical thinking. IBL encourages children to become little researchers, promoting active learning and transmediality. This method encourages the development of critical skills, problem-solving and collaboration, leading to a deeper and more lasting understanding of the subject.

Media Literacy-Based Methodology focuses on teaching students the critical skills and knowledge needed to effectively analyse, evaluate and navigate the complex world of media and information. Media Literacy encourages students to critically examine various forms of media, including news articles, videos, advertisements, social media and more.Students learn the ethics and responsibilities of online life, address issues of privacy and cyberbullying, and acquire useful tools for navigating a world saturated with digital content.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Case-Based Learning include several techniques focused on the practical realization or analysis of real-life scenarios and projects. PBL, in particular, is an educational approach that allows students to work on real-world problems or scenarios. Children collaborate to find solutions and apply their knowledge to practical situations, making the learning experience more meaningful and relevant.

Collaborative and Team-Based Learning allows children to work in groups or teams, sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences to solve problems or complete tasks together. The method involves children taking part in activities in pairs or small groups. Collaborative learning can be implemented in different subjects and educational contexts to improve student engagement and foster a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Learning in groups is a fundamental practice for the development of children’s communication and social skills.

The Flipped Classroom method, literally flipped classroom, inverts the classical teaching model by moving traditional activities and lessons out of the classroom, while interactive and collaborative activities take place during school hours. 

In a flipped classroom, teachers can use collaborative concept maps or mind maps, online discussion forums or social media groups to facilitate pre-lesson discussions and questions on proposed topics. Educators can also share video lessons or extra material covering the main content and share it with students before the lesson.

In Game-Based Learning (GBL), gaming is included in the learning process to engage students and teach them concepts and skills but also to improve their problem-solving skills. In GBL, educational content is integrated into game scenarios to encourage the active participation of students and make the learning experience more enjoyable. This method can be applied in various educational contexts, from traditional classrooms to online courses, and in different subjects and age groups.

Microlearning is an educational tool that involves the delivery of content in small, targeted units. It is designed to provide learners with quick and easily digestible bursts of information or learning activities that can be consumed quickly and conveniently, aiming to make learning more accessible, engaging and effective. Each microlearning module or unit covers a specific, well-defined topic or learning objective in a few minutes or less, each designed to deliver a specific piece of information or skill. The method can incorporate various multimedia elements and can be applied to a wide variety of topics.

The implementation of these methodologies requires an active role of the teacher as facilitator of the learning process, guiding, assisting and effectively managing discussions among students. The adoption of digital tools can enhance these methods, enabling new generations to navigate with confidence in an increasingly media and technology driven world.

The role of new technology

In an age defined by digital ubiquity, the need to integrate technology into pre-school education is emerging with increasing force. The increasing digitisation of society not only changes the way we interact and access information, but also poses new challenges and opportunities in the field of pre-school education. The introduction of new technologies in education has opened up unprecedented horizons for learning, offering innovative tools that can transform the educational experience.

A 2019 study published in Early Childhood Education Journal highlights how early introduction to technology, if guided and intentional, can foster the development of crucial skills in young children, including critical thinking, creativity and digital skills. This recognition paves the way for a broader debate on the balance between technology and traditional educational methodologies, highlighting the importance of a pedagogy that adapts to the changes of our time without losing sight of core educational values.

Contrary to the idea that technology can isolate children, the guided and intentional use of digital tools can foster social interaction and collaboration. Collaborative learning platforms, online educational games and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) based classroom projects can stimulate teamwork, communication and the development of social skills, enriching the overall educational experience.

Among the most promising aspects of technology integration in pre-school education is the ability to personalise the learning experience to meet the individual needs of children. Through the use of educational software and apps, educators can offer learning paths adapted to different learning styles, interests and skill levels, promoting a more engaging and effective educational experience.

However, the process of integrating new technologies into learning presents obstacles. These tools require a careful selection based on the assessment of their quality, relevance to educational pathways and educational impact. It is crucial to choose tools and resources that are not only engaging but also safe, accessible and in line with the learning objectives. Furthermore, the effective integration of these technologies into teaching should be accompanied by strategies that foster a balance between digital activities and offline experiences, ensuring that technology enriches learning without replacing human interactions and real-world exploration.

Research indicates that one of the most critical aspects concerns teacher training and the availability of adequate resources in schools. An OECD report (2019) highlights that despite increased access to technology in classrooms, many teachers still feel unprepared to effectively integrate digital tools into teaching. This skills gap requires a significant commitment in terms of professional training and the development of teaching materials that can effectively enrich children’s educational experience.

Digital literacy is not only needed by teachers but also by students and their families. Training on issues such as privacy, digital identity and ethical online behaviour is crucial. This work needs to be done on the one hand in classrooms, with digital citizenship lessons, and on the other hand with workshops and information sessions aimed at parents, so that students can also be supported outside the school context. Educators and families can collaborate with shared strategies, shared training and support initiatives, creating the ideal environment for students’ safety, well-being and education.

The issue of equity in access to technology is also crucial. In an article published in the Journal of Information Technology Education in 2020, inequalities in access to and use of digital resources between different socio-economic backgrounds were highlighted. The article explains that these differences can profoundly affect the educational opportunities offered to children, highlighting the need for policies aimed at ensuring that all students, regardless of their background, can benefit from the educational potential of technology.


We have seen how interactive methodologies can encourage active and participative learning. These strategies, supported by a conscious use of technology, enable children to become not only consumers of digital content, but conscious, creative and critically minded individuals. The targeted adoption of new technologies in pre-school education represents a promising frontier to enrich the learning experience. However, it is crucial that such integration is guided by in-depth pedagogical reflection, with the aim of promoting meaningful and inclusive teaching. Educators, working closely with parents and educational technology developers, can play a key role in navigating this evolving landscape, ensuring that technologies are used for the benefit of students’ social and intellectual development. Through continuous research and experimentation, we can aspire to a future where every child has access to an enriched, personalised and deeply engaging education, effectively preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century.

  • Early Childhood Education Journal (2019). “The Role of Technology in Early Childhood Education: A Review of the Literature”.
  • OECD (2019). “Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 Results”.
  • Journal of Information Technology Education (2020). “Digital Divide and Educational Equity: A Look at Students with Very Limited Access to Electronic Devices at Home”.
  • Training Material for Preschool & Kindergarten Teachers from DiCE Project