Is Our Education System Failing Our Youngest Learners?

We cannot ignore technology – it is part of our children's' world. We need to be harnessing the power that this technology brings to engage our earliest of learners in the skills they will need for the future. Ofcom, ( Media Literacy Audit , 2008) showed that children's use of key media including the TV, games consoles and the internet are well established by the age of five.

Many aspects outside education have been transformed by technology – why are we not harnessing the power of technology to educate our children? eBooks for children can be used as early as pre-school to help children learn to read, whilst harnessing the technology available to them on which they play games. Maths skills can be taught by playing games, early exploratory science can be enhanced by online education. The association therefore surely must be that learning can be fun. Surely this will engage our learners from the earliest age to promote a life long love of learning? A recent study conducted for Becta by IPOS / Mori showed that secondary school pupils wanted to be active learners solving problems in groups and by using technology. Their actual experience is copying from a board, working on their own, listening to the teacher and taking notes. In what ways are we failing these children by not providing their education via mediums that they will be using throughout their working lives?

Research has shown that when parents and carers are engaged in a child's learning and in learning together, both children and adults achieve more. A recent survey * revealed that 95 per cent of parents think the effective use of technology such as the internet, interactive whiteboards and laptops can help their children to learn. Parents have a vital role to play in ensuring that technology helps their children to develop and learn at home.

Yet parents need to have access to quality online materials such as eBooks, games and interactive educational materials. There needs a step-change in the way we apply technology, so it becomes an integral tool in supporting and improving key processes in education. This needs to be done in support of our teachers in whose hands rests the future of our learning generation. [source Betca Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning 2008]

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