The New Tools of Child Education
Technology - The pen and pencil of the future
Did you know that in the last 5 years the amount of children aged between 7 and 16 who use computers has doubled! Computers are now a part of the child's daily life and a normal part of most school classrooms.
I can remember back to 1979 or thereabouts when I first started to learn how to form my letters, we used a slate and a piece of chalk. The majority of my education took place using a pen or pencil. We have come a long way! In the 1980's, during the first IT classes, the information that we received then made computers frightening and difficult to work with. In fact I became so afraid that If I touched a wrong button the whole thing would crash that I decided then and there that I would be better off to stay away from technology altogether! Thankfully I changed my mind!
Roughly thirty years later my 4 year old daughter entered primary school for the first time and as I sat in her introduction meeting I realised that much of the work that she would do each day would be on a desk top or a white board. Thoughts flooded my mind about whether this was a good thing. How would I be able to help her. Would the children of today lose the skill of writing with a pen?
Technology in all shapes and forms has become a necessary part of daily life. With the constant updating of programs and equipment technology has also become so much simpler to use that even a three year old can manage certain things. You, like me may still be trying to catch up with the basics of modern day technology but you can be guaranteed that this will not be the case for the next generation.
Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, the kindle, to name a few are all a part of modern day literacy.
This raises issues for many of us as adults. We did not grow up in a technology literate age and many of use are still busy catching up. How do we make ourselves aware of the dangers? How do we know what is appropriate and what is not?
What about the use of technology in the classroom and in daycare settings? What are the dangers and what are the benefits? Are there any guidelines? How can we be sure that technology is not being used as a form of childcare?
As you can see from my questions, there are many issues for debate when it comes to the subject of children and technology. These can be difficult debates and I do not claim to have the answers. I am still working my way through this minefield but I am doing my best to ensure that it is a safe place for my children.
What are Children Learning?
Computers and Technology:Think about:
- Are Computer games or TV replacing my childs real life opportunities for learning and daily physical activity?
- Am I or any other adult using technology as a form of childcare?
- Does my child's School or Daycare centre have a children an ICT policy?
- Am I aware of the content of the games that my child plays or the TV programme that they are watching?
- Does my child have a social network account ie. Facebook or Twitter?
- How much time realisticaly does my child spend watching TV each day?
Real life Activity is Important!
Technology has it's uses as a valuable learning tool however it is important not to "replace activities that are important for children’s development like creative play, real life exploration, physical activity, conversation, and social interaction (Guernsey 2010).
A simple method that I have implemented for the control of the length of time spent on a Gaming device is to set the alarm on our oven. It has a shrill beeping sound which alerts the children that the alloted amount of time is now finished. It helps if I give them a five minute warning as the time is almost finished so that they can finish up their game. Another method that is frequently used is to ensure that young children spend at least the same amount of time outside or interacting with their peers as they do in front of a screen.
What Age is a Child old enough to join a Social Network Site?
Social Networking Sites
Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years of age before they can join. Until the child is old enough to protect themselves,the following are a few tips that I have picked up along the way.
- Encourage your child not to display their age or to display: year of birth 1901
- Encourage your child not to give information on where they live or their telephone number.
- Check out the family safety page on Facebook for more tips on things to be aware of when your child joins Facebook.
- Always encourage your child to speak to you or another adult they trust if they are concerned for their own or a friends safety.
Safe Surfing on the Internet
Install good antivirus software on your computer and inform your child of the dangers of opening any file that they do not know the origin of.
Keep the computer in an open space so that the child can be supervised during computer usage.
Install a net nanny on your computer which will prevent younger children from accessing the internet without access to the correct password