Technology is rapidly developing, and it’s important that in teaching our next generation they are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. So where does ICT fit into this? And where does it need to go? I thought I would start by looking at what people say about the benefits ICT brings. I will then move on to review how ICT could be affecting written work and our own level of talk, before looking at what perhaps needs to be done moving forward.
Dimitriadi et al (2009) talk about the enrichment that ICT as a subject brings to pupils social skills. The subject allows pupils to learn social skills such as communication, negotiation, decision-making and problem-solving in meaningful contexts which meet the requirements of the DfEE (1999) (the primary ICT curriculum). Sharp et al (2002) say that pupil’s explorations in ICT needs to demonstrate a conceptualised understanding of the way in which technology allows information to be organised, accessed, presented and communicated.
In the foundation stage pupils are involved in exploring and describing themselves and the world to adults and their peers, making communication a key area in a young child’s development. Dimitriadi et al (2009) say that “The opportunities for ICT are embedded within all six Early Learning Goals and can take the form of playful activities in which a range of resources can be used: from metal detectors to programmable toys and digital cameras.” (p148 L24-26)
However, is there an argument that ICT is detrimental to talk and written work? With children now brought up with twitter, facebook and text messages does this impact on their school work? Clinton and Steyer (2012) explain that the impact of heavy media and technology use on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development is in the early stage of research, but the emergent results are suggested to be serious. They say that the Internet could be changing how the brain works. Too much hypertext and multimedia content has been linked in some kids to limited attention span, lower comprehension, poor focus, greater risk for depression and diminished long-term memory. However, Sherman (2010) argues that ICT is simply just a new language and rubbishes any suggestion that it impacts on any aspect of talk or writing in the classroom, expressing that this new language should be embraced by teachers and used in a positive manner to enhance aspects of a pupil talk and writing, such as reducing waffle.
For this new language to be embraced, it will be necessary for a number of teachers to go on a course to grasp an understanding of it. The problem is, it’s ever changing and whilst for some things there is a common census, for others there are not and this is likely to cause a lot of confusion.
In my second post on this blog, I spoke about the dangers to wider society that are posed by the ICT, and in particular the internet and this is where I feel the real mission is. Particular dangers surround how safe a child is online, which was demonstrated by the programme ‘This Morning’. The following two video’s highlight in different ways the problem the internet can cause to children in our wider society.
Some astonishing and scary facts contained in that video. I particularly want to point out the fact that said that 90% of children between the ages of 8 and 19 have viewed pornography online. Something needs to be done to protect children from such material, and I would suggest this is something the UN (United Nations) should discuss and be looking to resolve by making access to such sites view-able by payment only. How can schools help in this matter? By raising awareness among parents of the dangers as some are likely to be oblivious of such a fact. It’s ok teaching pupil’s about the internet dangers, but for parents they were given that teaching and so need it so they know how to try and protect their child from the internet.
This video shows how an innocent girl could get taken in by an online predator, but what is good about it is it shows the other side of the coin by reporting such abuse and how this is done. Both are emotionally for a parent hard hitting video’s, but I think the same would apply for pupil’s and they would get the same shock factor aimed for the parents who are likely to be watching them.
Aside from the problems caused by the internet we also need to ensure that in schools, we teach pupils the basics of computing, rising to advanced levels which could see the inclusion of some gimmick applications however we have to be careful not to go overboard with these as we will lose the fundamentals of day to day work life uses of ICT, such as operating a spread sheet. It really is an eye opener on school placements when you see pupils who can create their own QR codes for example, but are unable to operate a spreadsheet. As good as these gimmicks are, we do need to be careful in not getting carried away from the technology that is really beneficial.
Furthermore, we have to look at the effects on wider society. Some children now play on the xbox every spare minute they have in their day, and surely this cannot be good for them on so many different fronts. The problem is technology makes people lazy and they forget and can’t bothered to do simple tasks such as washing up because it is far easier just to put all the dirty plates in the dish washer and press a button.
I wonder at what point does this go too far? On a teaching front, years ago it may have been said that teachers will always be needed, but what if in twenty to thirty years it can all be done for young children from the comfort of their own home? The need for teacher would reduce. Another profession that could suffer is hairdressing? It will only take someone to come up with robots that could do the job and people will purchase these instead to do their hair, as opposed to visiting a salon. The danger here is that technology could take over many people’s lives. This could in turn lead to high unemployment figures as people would be made redundant because of the technology being developed.
For me, there are a few things ICT need to do for the greater good of the wider community and I believe that some of responsibility in initialising such things lies with the government.
- Ensure pupils know the basics of computer programs such as word and excel so that they can apply their skills effectively in a workplace and that parents are fully educated of the dangers of the internet and how to protect their child online
- Sites containing pornographic material need to become view-able by payment only
- Chatrooms need to be more closely monitored; maybe the setting up a police unit would be beneficial here, to make children safer.
- For children to be aware, and encouraged to get themselves out in the fresh air and be active, as opposed to sitting on for example the xbox. Some of this encouragement could come through the school by teachers creating tasks that require their pupils to go outside to complete.
- Ensure that all pupils have access to the same technologies, therefore ensuring a fair education.
TTFN, tar tar for now
Clinton, C and Steyer, J.P (201) Is the internet hurting our children? [Online] Available from: http://www.cnn.co.uk/2012/05/21/opinion/clinton-steyer-internet-kids/index.html (accessed 29th October 2012)
DfEE (1999) The National Curriculum for ICT. DfEE. London
Dimitriadi, Y., Hodson, P and Ludhra, G (2009) in Jones, D and Hodson, P (2009) Unlocking Speaking and Listening. 2nd ED. Routledge. Oxon
Sharpe, J., Potter, J., Allen, J and Loveless, A (2002) ICT in Teacher Education. Learning Matters. Exeter.
Sherman, A (2010) How social media is affecting the way we speak and write. [Online] available from: http://gigaom.com/2010/04/28/how-social-media-is-affecting-the-way-we-speak-and-write/ (accessed 29th October 2012)