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Children and technology: knowing what is best for your child

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When it comes to children and technology, excitement is never far behind. Kids love all sorts of tech, with many of the big tech companies spending years designing products that appeal specifically to them.

These products can get a bad rap. Kids using them excessively can develop behavioural issues. But let’s not ignore the fact that technology can be a huge source for good. It connects children, enables creativity and helps them to learn on platforms they love. With all this influencing children’s development, we are here to explore what sort of technology is best for your child.

#1 Tech Equipment

It’s difficult to remember a time when our lives were not dominated by tech. With so many useful parenting tips available online, it is little wonder why we have all increased our screen time.

Children are not immune to this trend.

In 1913, Thomas Edison predicted that schools would get rid of books because film was taking over. Of course, this did not translate into reality – books remain in schools, but the idea that technology will influence children’s development is not new.

Today, the iPad is the symbol of how children and technology have come together. It’s touch sensitive surface certainly lends itself to increasing children’s motivation. Being able to view 3D shapes from different angles is one example of how tech equipment can bring learning to life; books that interact with kids represents another.

Tablet computers such as ipads have done to homes what interactive whiteboards did to schools. In many respects, taken over and replaced more ‘old fashioned’ avenues for instruction.

Pupil and tablet for children and technology

With its growing influence, all this tech equipment must have improved children’s progress, right?

Not right.

Whichever way you look at it, the evidence is mixed.

The use of technology by itself can certainly improve children’s engagement. No studies need to prove that. However, it is more difficult to argue that the use of computers, tablets and phones by themselves have influenced children’s learning.

They might help to capture your child’s engagement, but will they truly help them learn? Not guaranteed.

#2 Children and Technology: Learning Apps

What about the apps that children can access through all this tech equipment?

Last week we spoke about the need to avoid the summer slide. Carefully chosen technology can certainly help. Fun times tables games and quizzes can get the memory juices flowing and tide children over before the new term. They can add a bit of extra spice to your child’s life, adding to the traditional reciting of maths facts in between summer activities.

Indeed, apps have become the modern parent’s survival go-to, enabling children to learn without direct parent involvement.

Often free or low in cost, these apps can help your child learn across the curriculum. ‘The Human Body’ is one of our favourites, allowing your child to explore those all important organs!

Even non-educational games can be beneficial, with some arguing that the gamers of today will become the leaders of tomorrow, pointing to the positive impact technology can have on children’s development. In fact, there is now a huge variety of games on offer, ranging from relaxing through to puzzle based video games. These games can arguably help your child manage their emotions and develop mindfulness.

Apps for children and technology

However, all this software often lacks the teaching and learning approach that enables pupils to make steady progress. Though pupils may be drawn to them, there is no guarantee that this enthusiasm will translate into progress.

#3 Tech with a human touch

What about those providers who couple technology with a human touch?

Matr is breaking new ground in pioneering teacher-led tech. In doing so, it allows children to engage with tech whilst still being able to talk through any activities that are presented on screen.

This is important.

When thinking about your child’s development, relationships are the bedrock from which everything else stems. The involvement of a human being helps to build your child’s psychological safety. This is not something that can be easily replicated by technologies on their own.

As a result, pupils are more likely to make progress. For example, pupils supported by our schools division demonstrate 7 months progress in just 14 weeks. Without human beings, children’s misconceptions can go unnoticed and the likelihood of true advancement is reduced.

Therefore, those options that couple both tech and human beings are probably your best option when considering children and technology.

We hope this gives you a good idea of how children and technology can come together. Next week we will be talking about how technology can further help your child.

Liked this blog? Try our top 3 tips for encouraging a growth mindset with your child.

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