Tag Archives: technology

Tablets the new TV’s in our children’s bedrooms?

Can anyone else remember the old times when we used to talk about children having TV’s in their rooms and how that could provide a distraction to our children’s learning habits as they would be more inclined to play on a games console or watch their favourite TV shows than do their homework?

Well we have some good news, and some bad news, depending on where you stand on such debates as ‘should a child have a TV or computer in their own room?’ The good news is that the percentage of children who have a TV in their room has dropped 20% from 66% to 46% in the last 5 years. This could be in part due to the recent baby boom we’ve had so there are more children in the world, and maybe even this next statistic, the bad news. Ofcom now suggest that as much as 1 in 3 children now have their own tablet, some of which now watch TV on. Children even as young as 3 or 4 years old have their own tablet (around 11% of them)

So children are getting tablets now. Ok so what are they using for? Well it’s estimated around 6 in 10 of these children use a tablet at home, in which increasing numbers of children are using tablets to access the internet, play games and watch video clips in the years before starting school.

Ofcom said: “The popularity of the tablet could be contributing to the declining number of children with a TV set in their bedroom.”

The trends are highlighted in Ofcom’s Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014. The report reveals that 54% of children aged eight to 11 and three-quarters of 12 to 15-year-olds have three or more digital, media or communications devices of their own.

The survey also shows nearly all parents are taking steps to manage risks when their children use the internet. Popular methods include parents supervising children online (84%), talking to children about the risks and how to manage them (78%) and setting rules about internet use and access (82%). More than half of parents also use technological tools to manage the risks, Ofcom says.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the PR man has done a fantastic job convincing us all that we should embrace all this technology, but call me old fashioned but is there really a need for internet everywhere we go? Do we need to be spending masses of money on getting these technologies for our children? What happened to the days where kids used to do a wonderful thing called ‘exercise’. Kids these days are more interested in their playstations or xboxes or tablets or other handheld consoles. This may be part of the reason why we see children lacking in the fine motor skills to be confident in their own bodies, which we strive to teach during our PE lessons (if you’re in a school where PE isn’t marginalised in the first place). I apologise to all those passionate technology fans out there, but being brutally honest, technology is great, but there is no substitute for getting out there and using your body to learn about the world, rather than telling your ipad or your iphone to look something up on Google. Where I’m sat, technology will make us lazier, rather than better. Having had conversations with kids in both primary and secondary schools in my time in the profession, it is really saddening to me that when you ask a child what they’re doing or have done over the weekend, the response ‘played games on my (insert console here)’ has become all too common.

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Computers the new teachers? Not on my watch!

An Education Minister has signalled the end of the traditional teacher as the role changes beyond recognition due to new technology. Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister, unveiled plans for computers to take the lead in “imparting knowledge” while teachers focus on “mentoring, coaching and motivating”.

“Technology is a tool to empower teachers so they can concentrate on motivation and character,” Hancock said.

Ministers have set up a Whitehall unit to examine how children can be taught by computers that use sophisticated algorithms to set the pace according to individual ability.

Hancock argues that online tuition is ‘incredibly powerful’ and could help to raise Britain from the bottom of the educational league tables.

In order to disprove Hancock’s theory, I am going to cite an example from a couple of countries high up the Pisa rankings: South Korea and Japan. This comes from a couple of videos that a former lecturer at uni who is Japanese and a program I saw on TV, of which I forgot the name of now (memory of goldfish I know!). What I noticed in both of these classrooms was quite surprising. There was no computer of any form in the classroom at all. The teacher was writing on a blackboard, the children were all writing in books and not on a laptop. These countries significantly outrank ours in the Pisa scales, and yet they teach very much like we did before we got suckered into this notion that ‘technology is the way forward’ in education. All this makes me think we should go back to the old days to even back when I was at school. I’m just about old enough to remember blackboards as they were replaced when I was in Year 1 many moons ago. Even then they were replaced with normal whiteboards and not interactive ones. I didn’t learn with all of this technology and to this day I don’t see the need for it as much as some of my colleagues in the profession do.