Kids & Technology: Essential for Education?
If you think back to your childhood, you were probably more than happy with your YoYos and jigsaw puzzles to provide you with endless hours of entertainment.
Nowadays, parents are constantly being nagged by their kids to use their ipads to keep them occupied. It’s scary that infants as young as 2 know how to navigate their way around the different games or how to find their favourite videos.
So is technology aiding or harming the learning process for children?
In an article written by Psychology Today, Nicholas Carr describes the difference in learning in terms of different water sports. The traditional way of learning, reading books is like scuba diving — ‘the diver is submerged in a quiet, visually restricted and slow-paced setting with few distractions’. Alternatively, technology facilitated learning, the Internet, is like jet skiing — ‘the jet skier is skimming along the surface of water at high speed, exposed to a broad vista, surrounded by many distractions’
Fewer children are reading nowadays. Is this a problem?
It is true that reading allows children to focus and develop a good imagination and television does not. Television presents them with visual stimuli and provides as a distraction.
However, research suggests that video games can actually improve visual-spatial capabilities and hand-eye coordination, both of which are useful when playing sports.
Some may say that children can get caught up in this virtual world and as a consequence, social interactions in the real world will suffer. This isn’t entirely true. As children watch their favourite characters on television, they are taught about social expectations and acceptable behaviour.
And this type of learning is fun for them!
If anything, it motivates them to learn more and makes it more memorable. Why would they want to work out mathematical problems on paper when they could play number games to help them practice?
Ok, from an older person’s point of view — technology is not essential for learning, they coped perfectly fine without it! But today’s businesses harness technology to improve their efficiency. They value tech-savvy individuals to push for new innovative and creative ideas.
Even the most basic jobs require knowledge of emails and programmes such as Microsoft, something that people who were not exposed to technology as children would struggle with.
Technology serves for invaluable educational purposes.
It is unavoidable but it doesn’t have to be harmful.
As long as parents limit their children’s exposure and integrate technology with traditional reading styles,they are preparing them with invaluable skills that will serve them well in later life.
As Daniel Goleman puts it:
‘it’s about using the devices smartly but having the capacity to concentrate as you need to, when you want to’
Image copyright: Fotolia