There has been some recent debate regarding the virtues of computers in the home in relation to young learners.
Certainly, with home computers, smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly ubiquitous, there are now more ways than ever to access the internet and the way in which children learn is inevitably changing.
In fact, the popularity of internet-enabled devices offers households access to an unlimited range of information – not unlike the innovation of the TV some generations ago.
This technology has been since accepted as a basic element of the child learning process, with children’s programmes and stations meaning that children can absorb new and educational information before and after the first and last bell of each school day.
Generally speaking, computers and the internet are becoming an increasingly integrated part of the child learning experience.
Even ICT in primary schools is fast gaining a presence, with interactive whiteboards allowing for a greater variety of teaching techniques, and, in turn, more effective ways to meet the needs of different learners.
Most obviously, visual learners are especially benefitted, while kinesthetic learners – those who learn best by doing – can also find motivation to learn by the increased interactivity technology in the classroom can bring.
The double-edged sword of the unlimited nature of TV and internet has been used to caution parents about new technology – which is an important consideration – but it does not make either technology inherently “bad” or dangerous, either.
While some parents might be uncomfortable with placing technological devices within easy reach of their children, or, for example, allowing for a computer in a child’s bedroom, the level of exposure that parents think is most suitable is ultimately an individual consideration.
As with most things, balance and common sense are key. Using TV or IT devices devices as a substitute for parenting can be damaging – but keeping children from accessing new technology in the home altogether might also mean a missed opportunity.
Research published by the e-Learning Foundation suggests that pupils with access to home computers are at a distinct advantage when it comes to exam success.
Indeed, overseen by an adult and with the right guidelines and filters in place, the internet can enable access to valuable educational websites and online resources.
These can be used for homework research or as a revision tool, presenting children and young people with an increased number of access points to important knowledge – which is never a bad thing.