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A troglodyte in a world of technology

Holly wrote last week about engaging the Millennials – the young people who, having grown up surrounded by rapidly advancing technology, need to be taught in more varied ways than I saw in my classroom education 25 years ago.

This piece got me thinking as I already feel the constant stimulation and endless stream of information young people have to deal with is overwhelming. The new methods of working with pupils that Holly wrote about suggest that we must not only keep up with the young’s changing concentration levels, but also actively encourage them to think and learn in ways that offer relentless excitement.

Perhaps I should just sit and type ‘Bah-Humbug’ and acknowledge that I am falling foul of what has been termed the ‘Elvis Hypothesis’ – anything that young people are doing differently to what we did is automatically bad. However, it’s a chicken and egg situation: the faster we move, the more fast-paced life becomes and then the faster we have to move to keep up.

I have a three-year-old who, to date, has probably spent a total of 4 hours of his life looking at an i-Piece-of-Equipment. I have actively sought to keep him away from screens of any kind and when I am with him, I try not to look at my phone and spend time on my laptop. If he doesn’t see me do it, then he is not encouraged to want to do it either. I know that there will come a time when he will be regularly sitting in front of a screen, but I wish to delay that for as long as I can.

[I feel it is only proper that I highlight at this point that an impending trip to New Zealand is tempting us to procure an iPad to save our sanity on the plane. But then again, if I were prepared to put together 30 hours of entertainment for him…]

Don’t worry that my son is going to grow up a troglodyte in a world of technology: for example, I think Michael Gove’s suggestion that computer programming be included in the primary curriculum is a good idea. But I also feel that we, as adults, need to be extremely careful about how technology is affecting our children’s brains and development.

Lucy Cawkwell

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