In a world where kids often have a smart phone before they hit high school, it was only a matter of time before technology crept its way into the classroom.
However, while iPads have now become a tool for kids to use in lessons, one school is breaking the mould and questioning whether the pros really outweigh the cons.
Reddam House School, in Sydney, Australia, initially joined the masses by allowing students to use computers to access e-textbooks for information via cyberspace.
However, the co-ed school have now taken a U-turn and ditched the tech for the books after discovering the iPads were hindering learning.
Not only did teachers observe that social media notifications distracted students, but the children themselves said they preferred taking notes on paper rather than screen.
Now, research is being carried out globally to determine the best way for kids to learn.
One study in Canada assessed 6,000 students using iPads every day at school, concluding there was a high level of distraction and inability to develop writing skills.
Other experiments have proved similar outcomes, showing that even where iPads may increase engagement and motivation to begin with, often teachers’ lack of experience with digital learning cannot support students to develop technology skills correctly.
It is also believed that tech in the classroom poses a long-term risk, with not enough significant data to understand the impact of digital learning on children’s comprehension.
Not only is there danger for a child to not reach their potential academically, but experts say increased dependency on iPads can delay language development; lead to addiction, depression, and stress; and contribute to obesity due to lack of physical activity.
Over in the UK, The Department of Education have said that screen time is an ‘obsolete concept’ and it is more important to think about what children do online and who they are doing it with than to consider arbitrary rules about time.
In a classroom of 30 students, especially in times of social distancing when teachers are less free to wander the room, it is impossible to monitor what each individual is looking at, meaning the Reddam House School’s approach seems to be the way of the future.
It comes after new research revealed that nearly six out of 10 (56%) parents who admitted to already downloading illegal content for their kids were more likely to do so during lockdown.
A new online campaign and hub launched by Internet Matters aims to highlight the risks and provide parents with the knowledge and tools to choose safe content sources.
Award-winning blogger and mum-of-three, Harriet Shearsmith, says she would never take the risk of inappropriate content as she calls for parents to get clued up.
“Like many parents and families, my kids are using technology and being more active online – from schoolwork to watching their favourite creators through to keeping in touch with friends and family,” she explains.
“We’re all living online more now than ever before. And being aware of our online safety as a family is hugely important to me.
“That’s why I’ve partnered with Internet Matters on this campaign to help inform and educate other parents about the dangers of downloading or streaming illegal content.”
For more information and resources on keeping your family safe online visit www.internetmatters.org/digital-piracy.