Our tech-led society has spawned a tech-savvy generation.
The two go hand in hand.
The impressive catalogue of devices now available continues to surge, and as consumers we increasingly enjoy and relish the possibilities that these inventions offer.
As do our children!
With the average four year old being able to navigate an iPad with more proficiency than their grandparents, we certainly need to start questioning the ways we can tap into this for educational gain.
Is tech the way forward?
Let’s turn to the stats…
Recent Ofcom studies repeatably document a clear increase in tablet and smartphone ownership.
For example, in 2016, 55% of 3-4 years olds, 67% of 5-7 years olds and 80% of 8-11s had regular, daily access to a tablet.
And it’s not just the access to these devices (as any parent will agree) that’s important here – children love, and want them!
Tablets and mobile phones were ranked significantly higher in popularity than TVs or laptops, meaning that for the first time in history 5-15s now spend more time online than watching television (15 hours vs.13 hours 36 minutes).
I’d imagine these figures are probably no surprise to you at all!
What happens in the classroom?
It goes without saying that there is no substitute for the teacher, and no replacement for our fantastic curriculum.
But what if this love of technology could amplify their learning?
We have certainly seen massive improvements being made in the modern science lab for example, or even the interactive white boards that teachers use daily.
The right technology?
The key here is getting the right technology that can help support teachers and students in the classroom. Although not a complete education, technology can bridge the gap between how much time a teacher would like to spend with a student, with how much time they have available to spend.
As creator of the online Kahn academy, Salman Kahn suggests, using tech in the classroom does not distract or delay a child’s educational ability, it nurtures it.
Kahn believes that technology can really ‘flip the classroom’ dynamics, encouraging children to become independent learners, who progress at their own speed without the pressure of obvious comparison with their peers.
So how does this tie in with reading?
Well, even with the diverse variety of tech available to choose from, children still have reading high up their on their list of priorities!
A really key point that the Ofcom report highlighted, was that reading is still considered the third most popular activity for 6-11 year olds (following gaming and social media).
And, what’s more, the bedtime story is still going strong, with up to 21% of 6-11 year olds reading a book, independently, before bed.
If we can blend this passion for technology with this love of reading, then surely we are on to a winning formula?
By tapping into the platforms that our children love with educational content, we can really get a head start in supporting a child with their literacy.
A final thought…
In whatever form it comes in reading is an art. We should do whatever we can to encourage and support children with their literacy in anyway possible, and tech continues to be an effective way of ‘reaching out’ to them in language they understand.
Support and practise is always key in this journey!
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