I (and I imagine the majority of you reading this blog) haven’t ever known anything other than modern technology; the existence of computers and the use of the internet. We have grown up with it! But it almost seems to me as though we were discouraged from using it during school (not so much at university). Don’t get me wrong – we had ICT lessons and we did use computers to type up some work and do a bit of browsing, but as I remember: we were forbidden to take mobile phones and other gadgets to school. Computers were only allowed to be used under a teacher’s supervision and even then we could only use specific websites.. social network sites were a definite no-no! We constantly had to scribble notes down as the teachers were talking, “Nothing wrong with a pen & paper, who needs all this fancy technology?” they use to say. We were also told about core text-books we had to buy, what about core websites to browse???
Why weren’t we encouraged to use modern technology at school? Teachers could really take advantage of all the features of modern technology in order to teach children. By incorporating podcasts (kids are always glued to their ipods anyway, why not give them something useful to listen to), text messages, social media sites, emails, apps etc into their class modules.
Bolliger, Supanakorn and Boggs (2010) found that students were more motivated to learn with podcasts and it was an effective learning method for students studying at a distance. This could be applied to children who missed a school day due to sickness; it could also be applied to helping children with homework. Also, Fernandez, Simo and Sallan (2009) found that podcasting increased student’s motivation due to the constant contact between students and teachers, they also suggest that podcasting is a powerful tool but should be used in addition to classes and not instead of. Again this could be applied to out of school work; students could use the podcast for help with homework or revision.
Furthermore, we all know that kids can’t tear themselves away from social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. So why not use this as another tool for learning? Edutopia* argue that we should teach children the benefits that social networking technology can have on their education; they can share ideas with peers and ask tips from teachers even when not in school. It may even allow some of the quieter of children’s opinions to be heard, as social networking sites have been found to boost self-esteem (Steinfield, Ellison & Lampe, 2008). If we are going to encourage technology and the social media to children, it is important that rules are put in place in order to prevent cyber bullying and other issues. Classes could be held in school where children are taught how to present themselves appropriately on the internet, just like we learn how to present ourselves appropriately ‘in real life’ (Edutopia). As we know, unfortunately, social-networking isn’t always rainbows and butterflies (especially for children) due to the online-dangers of talking to strangers and cyber bullying etc. So social network sites made especially for schools such as http://socialmediaforschools.org.uk/ and http://www.twiducate.com/ should be incorporated into more schools. This way the children are still getting the benefits of learning with social network but it is also safe too as only the school community have access to their profiles.
To conclude, people always seem to be complaining about the amount of time kids are spent stuck to their gadgets and updating their Facebook page, but I feel that the education system should take advantage of the modern technology that we are fortunate enough to have, and use it to teach kids. This can be done through the use of; allowing them to search on the internet instead of having to learn from the same book that their grandparents probably used at school, using podcasts alongside of class, creating apps for mobile phones and encouraging social-network (safely).
Thanks for reading. Sorry it’s such an essay – I got a bit carried away with my chatting!
Ps. I wrote most of this blog post whilst on the train, proof that modern technology is awesome – you can work anywhere without having to lug around books and worrying about running out of ink in a pen!
Bolliger, D. U., Supanakorn, S., & Boggs, C. (2010). Impact of podcasting on student motivation in the online learning environment. Computers & Education,55(2), 714-722.
Fernandez, V., Simo, P., & Sallan, J. M. (2009). Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education. Computers & Education, 53(2), 385-392.
Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 434-445.