This got me thinking about how much we rely on ICT now. That's Information Communication Technology to those of you who aren't heavily immersed in the Education World, or didn't like to guess. Until this summer I was an Advanced Skills Teacher, as those of you who know me or read the About page will know. What I didn't write on that page was that I was an Advanced Skills Teacher for ICT (as my main subject). I'm pretty sure that makes me completely biased in the growing debate (read hysteria) concerning ICT and our children, particularly in regard to the Early Years.
For those of you who don't know, there is concern amongst some about our children, particularly our very young children, engaging too much with technology. I can see their point. Sort of. They're imagining a Nursery where all the children do is sit around on an ipad and become totally dependent on instant gratification, developing in to obese children with poor social skills. I'd be concerned too, so I see their point.
What seems so obvious to me though, is that it's all about balance. I've been there, I've seen it. I know I'm biased towards ICT, but even with that, it's still about balance. A piece of ICT used for the sake of including ICT is pointless. A piece of ICT used because it's going to enhance learning is totally brilliant. No good teacher is going to rely on ICT to teach for them. No good teacher is going to advocate very young children - or any children - spending a vast majority of their time staring at a small screen.
However, we have to accept that our children are digital natives. I remember being gobsmacked a year or so ago when I watched two tiny tots, barely three years old, both sitting on the sofa independently using ipads. What got me more is when one left and the other was using both ipads at the same time. Incredible. Does this child rely on technology? No. Does he interact well with others? Yes. He has now just turned four and can read on a par with an average Year 1 child. Yes, I know a lot has to do with his family, who support him wonderfully with his learning (and not just academic learning) but my point is that his confident use of technology has not held him back in any way. He is empathetic and caring, bubbly and full of life, and yes, academically ahead in his Literacy. It's all about balance. Technology is a tool. It's how we use it that matters. Don't be afraid of technology, embrace it and use it to your advantage. I firmly believe that ICT has a place in our schools and nurseries, as long as it is used appropriately. What do you believe? I'd love to know what you think.