Can Theatre be taught online?

In this blog, John Pradeep, the Academic Dean of Happy Cow, talks about digitizing children’s art education.

John Profile Picture

I recently had a very interesting meeting with this gentleman who works on an online children’s education platform. He asked me if we can Digitalize Happy Cow’s curriculum so that children can access it from wherever they are. I didn’t have an immediate answer. But I left the meeting wondering if teaching (in any form) should go digital at all. I did some research on how digital learning methods work.

The current digital learning:
The world has quickly become digital, and the younger generations are using technology that just may make study materials like notebooks. In the past students used notebooks, pencils, pens, and folders to school. Today, students carry digital devices like computer tablets, smart phones, and other digital devices to the classroom. Another item that may go the way of the dinosaur is the printed book. Students can now carry an entire library worth of reading material on a slim e-reader device or on the many other evolving tablet-type machines. There may be a day when one no longer browses the aisles of the school library for a book, but only downloads the text instantly when needed. Some textbooks are already offered in digital format, and some school systems and teachers may opt for the convenience of digital devices.

What Digital learning should be:
There is a difference between getting children to learn from digital resources and teaching them to make the best use of the digital resources. For example, asking children to memorize all the foods that are rich in Vitamin C from a fun animation on their tablet is different from teaching them to find out what they should eat if they have teary and reddened eyes.

Theatre? Digital?
Some schools have stopped insisting on writing as the world is getting digital. When you stop writing, the child is not getting used to holding the pencil. Which means, he is not getting used to the motor skills to use a Scalpel at a later stage if he becomes a doctor. Through this era of digitalization of education, art forms like painting, dancing, theatre are the ones that immerse the child with almost all aspects of multiple intelligence. Just listing down the modalities of Multiple intelligence below for you to contemplate if digital learning will cover these:
Musical-rhythmic and harmonic
Visual-spatial
Verbal-linguistic
Logical-mathematical
Bodily-kinaesthetic
Interpersonal
Intrapersonal
Theatre programs expose the child to almost all of these intelligences through learning their lines to moving to rhythm to manning a finger puppet or a string puppet. Thus, it has become the need of the hour for theatre or any art education program to stay as it is for as long as possible so our generation does not fall into the gap between the exploratory learning methods and their application in the future. It will still involve multiple trainers travelling to various schools and having smaller batches and getting lesser money. But it is what theatre is for. The physical presence.

About EVAM

Founded in 2003 by Sunil Vishnu K. and Karthik Kumar, ‘evam’ today is a profitable young thriving arts organization making people believe in the power of the Arts.
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