IT & Early Learning Debate

There’s no doubt that there is growing pressure worldwide to push for ICT integration in to syllabus with ever and ever younger children. The cynic in me fears that much of this has been propelled by large marketing budgets of those companies in the hardware and software fields that stand to gain most from maximum IT integration in to the curriculum for younger and younger children.

So, I think it’s a heartening wake up call to see an expert publishing the evidence against these arguments:

Telegraph Article on Banning Computers from Elementary Schools
(Click on the link above)

One of the main arguments of this expert are that advocates have sought to convince us that computers help children to build focus and attention, whereas his evidence points to the contrary. Obviously, his arguments are targeting all kinds of screen related activities, including TV watching.

There is a lot of evidence that children’s screen time outside school is continuing to rise. I know of children who, in these holidays, are watching for easily 8-10 hours a day. In such circumstances I believe there is a strong case to make school something different. It’s very easy for teachers to be lulled because when the children sit in front of a screen they appear so comfortable, contented and enthusiastic. This may simply be the ‘fix’ of the familiar, soma-like early addiction.

I think that there is strong evidence that certain very well designed software can assist children in their learning of languages, maths etc. However, we have to see the child holistically which includes taking account of all they are doing outside school. If families could see the benefits, they could bring about significant reductions in ‘screen time’ of children outside school, so that some time could be allocated in worthwhile ways in school. However, without that reduction outside school, we risk making a bad situation worse, despite the best of intentions.


One Response

  1. I am fully in agreement with you. I feel the primary years are exploratory and these are the years when a child develops coordination between his faculties, and learns to interact with the real physical environment sorrounding him/her. That when the conciousness about self get installed.
    More exposure to soft media may tend to distort his conceptualization of real world. Lack of Physical effort and more gratification ( of Inquisitiveness) is good reason to refrain the child from active sports/ activities and attract towards virtual world.
    Being a interaction designer i have known, as a student, how important it is to feel and shape different material with your bare hand and then move on CAD for 3D modelling.
    Same is true with kids.

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