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 Article published in Avery Magazine online, 14 March 2016

http://www.averymagazine.com.au/a-guide-to-choosing-a-school/



Balancing students exposure to technology and electronic devices

by Rohan Feegrade on 20 March 2017


Engaging and preparing young minds in the classroom through various learning technologies and devices is crucial, but there is balance to be had.

There is great merit in preparing students for a world where technology is constantly evolving both professionally and socially. Further to this, it is fast becoming an expectation that as future employee's, they will have more than just a basic understanding of technology and computer literacy, but they will be able to excel with what's current and embrace further evolving technologies.

This being said, there are some serious implications with students becoming reliant and dependent on various electronic devices, in an effort to prepare them for their future world. By immersing children in technological devices, there is genuine risk of them developing addictions and dependencies towards them. Computer games are designed to be addictive, even the educational ones. Devices also allow students to retreat and withdraw from certain elements of society causing potential social dysfunction, not to mention the decreased ability to be able to make spontaneous and sensible decisions without the help of a device. We are also all made well aware of the present danger the Internet and online activity presents.

Not to paint a grim picture, but like all things in life - Balance is key. Below is a list of four points worth considering in helping build and maintain this balance.

 

1.       Set time limits on ALL devices

All children need and respect boundaries and limits. Set a fair negotiated time allotment for all technology-based electronic devices they are allowed to use. Negotiating allows children to build ownership over the decision you reach together.

 

2.       'Screen time Vs. Imagination' - should be a 50/50 split

For each minute a student uses a technology-based device, they should spend equal time playing, creating or enjoying reading a book. For younger students, role-play games are more developmentally rich than watching television or playing on an iPad.

 

3.       Begin the discussion about age appropriate technologies

Children must understand that at certain ages, a particular electronic device will present value for them. For example, a phone holds no value, but plenty of risk for a five year old. Where as, there is greater relevance and privilege to be had for a twelve year old having a phone. It's also important to make it clear that the parent owns the device until it is essential the student requires their own.

 

4.       TEACH children to appreciate and understand what BALANCE means and why it's important

We all know a balanced lifestyle is the key to happiness. It is important children understand this from as young as possible. To relate this to students' use of various devices, explaining that to maximize their benefit from the device, spending time away from it helps. We must help students understand the benefits of fresh air and exercise to their study / learning routine and that this maximizes their ability to learn new and exciting things.

 

Relate technology and the device to chocolate. Ask a child what happens if you eat too much chocolate. They will respond with either 'you will get sick' and 'you will become unhealthy'. Both of which are true! Explain to the child that the exact same thing can happen if you over engage with an electronic device - you can become sick and become unhealthy!

Don't be scared of technology, embrace it in students learning but be well aware of its limitations and that balance is the key to a well-balanced and holistic educational journey.



 

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