“Can’t I have five more minutes – purleeeease?”
If I had a pound for every time this phrase has been uttered when I’ve asked for the iPad (other tablets are available!) to be handed back… Not counting the number of times I have hidden the remote control for the Xbox… Apparently, changing the Wi-Fi password is another good one – not so much for me it takes me three months to update all the other Wi-Fi linked devices as well!
We are in a constant battle with our children over their technological devices (well at least I hope it is not just me) and all I keep reading and talking about is the negative effects on our innocent offspring. So, instead of whinging about it, I have decided to try and look upon technology more positively and to see how it can be used to improve the standards of education and the way children learn.
There is barely a classroom in the country that does not have an Interactive Whiteboard standing proudly in a prominent place. What better way to start the day than with an “Early Morning Challenge” placed on the screen while the mundane jobs such as the register are taken. In a jam-packed curriculum, every second counts and first thing in the morning is prime learning time.
No longer do our children need to stand and recite their times tables aloud in monotonous chorus but instead, a YouTube Video such as Multiplication Mash-up (my favourite) can engage and entertain with a far more successful outcome. Boring grammar lessons are also a thing of the past – who needs a textbook to learn vowel phonemes when you can play “DJ Cows”?
Screens entertain, engage, enthuse and without doubt, make our lives easier. However, I have yet to meet a single person who became a teacher because they wanted an easy life! Whilst having a wealth of ready-made lessons at their disposal via the Internet, when it comes down to it, the unique imagination and work ethic of our teachers is the key to progress and attainment. Children need human interaction to learn best and technology can only be effective if used in support rather than as a replacement.
One of my most memorable lessons as a child was when my teacher leapt on the table (think Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting) whilst reading. I defy an iPad to beat that in terms of engaging and motivating a class of eleven-year olds…
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates