Ensuring every child learns how to read is a key task for parents and teachers. Luckily, innovative new interactive learning technology, such as the gesture control and facial recognition made possible with the new Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera, is poised to offer parents and educators a new set of tools in their quest to make every kid a reader. Here are eight smart, fun ways interactive technology can help improve childhood literacy.

1. Technology Can Make Play Educational

One of the many benefits of interactive learning technology is that it uses play, one of the most natural childhood impulses, to help kids improve their reading and writing. By engaging kids in more than one sense, games that leverage interactive learning systems give children creative space as well as structure, both of which foster learning.

2. Interactive Learning Can Make Sure Kids Are Understanding

Reading comprehension is crucial to literacy. If children don’t understand what they’re reading or if the material is too advanced for them, they won’t benefit as much from what they read. Interactive learning technology that captures both emotional facial cues and eye direction—which can reveal if the reader is engaged with the material—can greatly improve children’s reading comprehension by ensuring that they grasp what they’re reading.

3. Interactive Learning Can Improve Kids’ Motor Control

We may associate reading with sitting still, but movement is crucial to early childhood development. Movement helps children develop motor skills, and later, dexterity that helps with handwriting, among many other things. Interactive learning tools like the Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera that can track a child’s movements and gestures will be a great vehicle for helping young children hone both fine and gross motor skills.

4. Interactive Learning Gives Children More Control

Studies of early childhood education have stressed the importance of both teacher-guided and child-guided learning. Most students get plenty of teacher-guided learning at school, while interactive learning technology often focuses on the sometimes-overlooked child-guided learning. Programs that allow children to work at their own pace and encourage them to use hand and body movements for control make a clear distinction between these programs and the more rigid school environment. When children control of their own learning through an intuitive, gesture-driven interface, they will come to associate reading with feelings of independence.

5. Technology Can Reward Kids for Trying

Recent studies of child development have suggested that children thrive when they are rewarded not only for success, but also for effort. When a child sees the benefit of trying, rather than simply of succeeding, he or she is more willing to keep trying in the future. Interactive learning systems that reward children for progress and effort—which will be possible to measure using the emotion tracking abilities of breakthroughs like the Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera—mean children will be less likely to become discouraged when faced with a new word or a difficult sentence, and more likely to make an attempt at figuring it out.

6. Interactive Learning Lets Kids Get an Early Start

The earlier a child learns a new language or concept, the more natural the learning process will be. So the sooner kids start developing their vocabularies, the better. Interactive learning systems help young readers put new words in context. Rather than just seeing new words and concepts on paper, interactive learning can utilize augmented reality to enable kids to use their voices and gestures to explore immersive worlds tailored to specific lessons. Instead of standing outside the context, kids are encouraged to participate in it. The application ARPedia leverages Intel® RealSense™ technology to give young students a chance to fully immerse themselves in whatever new world they’re studying.

7. Interactive Learning Can Tell When Kids Are Struggling

Struggling readers often hesitate to speak up when they don’t understand something, which causes them to fall even further behind academically. That’s why tools like the Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera, which can recognize facial cues, are an invaluable resource for young readers. Devices that can sense when a child is confused and slow the lesson down will ensure that every student is on the right track.

8. Technology Plays to a Child’s Strengths

There are three major categories of learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. By incorporating all three (with animation, sounds, and gesture controlling), interactive learning technologies ensure that whatever a child’s learning style, the technology will cater to his or her needs while also helping them develop new skill sets. By synthesizing different learning styles, the technology will help students become stronger learners in all three. Even a visual learner will benefit from hearing words pronounced and touching the words on the screen as they see them.

Intel® RealSense™ technology redefines how we will interact with our devices for a more natural, intuitive and immersive experience. When interactive learning tools enter the mix, just imagine how fun and easy learning could be for both children and adults alike! Learn more here.