There is really no doubt we are living in a digital age where technology is king. While many of us may remember the first time we used a computer or our early experience of the internet, our children are digital natives and, using technology comes very naturally. Technology is not, however, simply a tool to make our lives easier or just a form of entertainment. It can also be embraced as a tool for learning.
That said, it does need to be used in such ways that it is productive rather than simply being a distraction. Developments in technology happen at a rapid rate and it can be difficult for both parents and teachers to keep up with best practices when it comes to its role in education.
Let’s look at some of the common concerns about technology as tool in learning and separate the myths from the facts.
Myth: When we see people around us glued to their television screens or pointlessly swiping on their smartphones it’s easy to see why technology is a hindrance when it comes to learning
Fact: Of course, if children are left unsupervised technology can be used as a mindless distraction with them losing hours watching television or playing computer games. That said if parents and teachers can successfully set digital boundaries. technology can actually be used to effectively enhance a child’s learning experience.
Myth: The internet is a largely unmonitored sphere. With so much information out there, it is hard to find good learning material and legitimate sources of information out there.
Fact: It’s true that there is tons of information, but you can seek advice from your child’s teacher on recommended learning resources. They’ll not only be able to steer you in the right direction but they are best placed to help parents utilise sources that will complement classroom learning.
Myth: The COVID 19 Lockdown forced children out of the classroom and meant that parents the world over were faced with the challenge of homeschooling their children. The difficulty of replicating traditional classroom structure at home quickly became apparent as did the importance of properly qualified teachers.
Fact: During lockdown we also saw many schools take action by creating forms of online learning. While it is hard to say whether online learning is more or less effective than a classroom environment, these two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Access to online learning portals means that learning doesn’t need to finish the moment the school bell rings. Nowadays, students can access digital resources from home and continue learning after-school and over the school holidays. So it is totally possible to implement a blended learning model where digital resources and traditional teaching can be used to complement one another.
One thing is for certain, despite its somewhat contentious nature, technology is here to stay. Technology plays a key role in the everyday experiences of our children. As much as we may debate its perils, it is very unlikely that we’ll be returning to the days of old-fashioned chalkboards. Looking to the future, parents and teachers are going to need to work together to harness the best elements of the technological infrastructure available and find the most effective ways to use these to enhance learning for our kids.
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