It’s a wonderful world out there. We can see, hear, and learn about anything on the planet with a few touches of the screen. No wonder schools are investing so heavily in technology these days. It’s also opening up many jobs for those of us that are tech savvy and good at developing educational apps to support curriculum learning. But have we gone too far? Are we now relying on good connectivity for our kids’ education?
Internet speeds are dramatically improved in most regions of the UK. Compared to just five years ago, thousands more of us are able to use high-speed connections. The technological infrastructure of schools and colleges has also seen significant upgrades. This includes wireless access for students. With such rapid developments though, it can be a confusing time for staff and students to know when to apply the technology, and when to hold it back.
Safeguarding children includes protecting them from unwarranted and damaging content online. Private connections from mobile phones cannot, as yet, be safeguarded. But at least the schools can do what is necessary to ensure use of the internet is safe and monitored for your child’s safety. The OFSTED online safety requirements are continuously being updated and rigorously tested. Your child’s teachers undergo regular training to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest developments too.
So when is technology being overused? Is it really any better than standard textbooks, teacher-led activities or practical experiments? Many head teachers are asked these types of questions each year. There are fears that overcrowded classrooms are pushing children to seek answers online. It’s thought this is an alternative to direct teacher engagement. It’s unlikely this is the case though. After all, research skills must be taught, and it’s not something young children are independent enough to tackle. Instead, apps and websites are introduced as supporting sources to reinforce learning in most cases.
There are lots of fears that technology, particularly devices that can access the internet, can be harmful to our health. When it comes to our kids every parent prioritises their child’s health. The amount of time spent using devices varies greatly from child to child, school to school, and even region to region. It would be almost impossible to get through a normal day without encountering or using some form of these technologies. However, limiting use in the evenings is thought to help promote better sleeping patterns.
Are you always checking your phone? Many of us are guilty of asking our child to wait a moment while we finish off that email! While connectivity is important to most of us, it can distract us from other activities. Some parents schedule their social media checks to a particular time at night after the kids are in bed. This may seem a little extreme to some and downright inconvenient to others! There is no right or wrong way to manage this situation, so it is important to recognise the unique qualities of each situation and every family. After all, we all need to connect from time to time.