Do your children have the technology know-how to get them through the school year? We tell you all you need to know about the best ways to teach your child using technology
Technology is now moving so swiftly that it will soon be a part of every job. Ensuring your kids are comfortable with computers and know how to interact with and be connected through technology is vital. Fortunately most schools are now recognising and adapting to this, greatly helped by the fact that technology is an extremely engaging approach to student instruction. It has been part of preschool education for years, allowing young children to start school entirely comfortable with computers and ready to get the best from them.
Perfect blend of old and new
Kids love anything to do with computers, laptops, digital equipment and all the software that goes with them, and in a classroom they need to be hands-on rather than just watching a teacher. What they’re working on must also tie into the curriculum, which ensures they are continuing to learn even when they think they are concentrating on the technology.
Enhanced interactive whiteboard use is a perfect example of the way technology continues to develop and engage, with children used to manipulating items or work problems on the board then taking the concept a step further by designing their own mini lesson plans and showing the rest of the class by using USB bracelets or keyrings. The unusual USB sticks might seem like a classic classroom fad, but it’s one with a lot of potential learning in it.
Social networking like Facebook can help kids become adept at dealing with others. In teaching, interactive games serve a very informative purpose, with events such as World Maths Day taking an old-style competition and making it accessible and desirable worldwide.
Competing against other kids and being given continually more challenging problems to solve is a wonderfully instructive way to use a computer game to its best advantage in education. Connecting classrooms through Skype also re-energises traditional teaching and takes research at the youngest ages to new levels, as kids discuss findings or work with others from another time zone to increase their knowledge. A constant complaint about technology is that it can distract students from traditional teaching methods, but when used properly it can increase their interest and love of learning.
On January 30, 2013, Newcastle University spin-out company Reflective Thinking launched Digital Mysteries, a software developed with teachers and pupils. It is designed to be used on electronic tabletops or smart tables, the very latest innovation in education technology,which work like desktop interactive whiteboards and are set to be the next big thing in teaching.
The software sets the children a task, otherwise known as a mystery, and they then have to work collaboratively on the answers. Using innovative tools to group ideas together, they can show the reasoning behind their solutions and a special playback tool allows teachers to look at how the pupils arrived at their answers. This is using electronic tabletops to their best advantage, helping pupils think independently, work together and come up with creative solutions to problems set by their teachers.
Digital Mysteries offer a library of mysteries prepared by teachers for students aged 11 to 16 and includes tasks in the subjects of English, History, Geography, Media and Religion, all linked to the English curriculum. Technology like this is the future of education, harnessing a constantly developing tool to share knowledge, encourage research and constantly raise expectations and achievements.
How should you get your kids back into the school routine?