Why are computers so exciting for children?
I wonder how many parents regularly hear the request for, ‘just a few more minutes on the computer…’ before that typical argument about how much time is enough? I never cease to be amazed by how engaged children are online. We shouldn’t be too surprised however, as we see the same effect in adults whether it be on the train immersed in their laptops, on the streets using a smart phone or indeed, in the living room where one screen never seems to be enough.
Schools are, in many ways, the last great frontier for computer technology. Many schools still rely on exercise books, white boards and handouts to teach courses. So is it really any surprise that the educational attainment of KS3 children (aged 11-13) seems to dip in many senior schools? A child’s life away from school is lived in vibrant 3D. Screens are ubiquitous, colourful and fast paced, children talk endlessly to friends on games and social media and they are constantly stimulated by the latest ‘must-see’ viral video.
Now clearly not all of this is positive, but schools are fighting an unwinnable war as they persevere with a 2D style of learning. The solution must be to accept that change is coming and to embrace it positively. Picking out the best bits of the technology revolution in order to make lessons fun, engaging and collaborative is the only way forward.
Our approach at Radnor House is to create learning opportunities around technology. Children work together safely online, they have access to learning resources day and night and they leave the administration of their learning to the computer. All of this ensures they focus on the importance of learning which in turn significantly raises attainment.
After introducing laptops last year I can say with confidence that we at Radnor House Sevenoaks are on the right path. Learning and engagement have improved, and children are excited about their courses.
Assuming things can only get better, we really are on the frontier of a bold new world.