More and more schools are making use of technology to enrich the education experiences of their pupils. The diverse range of hardware and software available make it easier every day for educators to customise lessons to individual students’ learning styles.
Perhaps in part because the technology is advancing so quickly, there remain a great many misconceptions about the effect that ICT equipment for schools will have on the learning experience. Though computing skills have become a more or less essential prerequisite for careers and life ahead – and an ability to work with computers will of course become only more crucial with time – some take a less positive outlook. In this post we’ll dispel a few myths about what tech means for our children.
‘Pupils will just surf the web all day’
Pupils might be spending more time in front of screens, but that doesn’t mean they’re playing games – or viewing even less appropriate content. Computing sessions are usually locked down enough that non-scholastic internet use, or even use of any software other than that essential to the lesson, is not possible.
‘Children spend enough time in front of screens already’
It’s hard to dispute that people today, young and old, spend a lot of time ‘plugged in’ to various screens and devices – PCs, smartphone and televisions. However not all setups of ICT equipment in the classroom involve thirty students with thirty computers. Interactive whiteboards, digital signage and audio equipment all leverage some of the latest technology to bring learning all subjects to life. Individualised audio systems help with learning modern languages, for example, while maths students can create graphs together on an electronic whiteboard.
‘Computers are making my child less, not more, clever’
Computers are tools like any other, and they accomplish tasks that would be simply impossible without them. Still, there is an idea that Wikipedia has replaced thorough and rigorous research and that spellcheckers have eliminated the need to learn how to write correctly.
In the classroom, it is of course vital to assess pupils’ abilities objectively and honestly. That’s why much educational software is designed to help out, rather than be relied upon. It’s on this same basis that children still learn their multiplication tables even though pocket calculators exist. And there are certain areas where software simply isn’t smart enough to replace a human being. A computer cannot, for example, produce an essay with any real original or analytical content, nor are they context-savvy enough to catch all spelling and grammatical errors without fail. Far from creating a generation of dummies, computers are equipping our children with essential knowledge and skills for life by providing the right kind of support.