This week, Sherborne House has been focusing on Internet Safety.
Research by the UK Safer Internet Centre released on the 11th February, reveals the internet is a fundamental part of young people’s identity, helping them find their own voice offline. There is much written about the risk that technology poses for children but it is important to remember that it's the people using the technology for the wrong reasons that pose the risk rather than the technology itself. Indeed technology can have many positive advantages and if we teach our children to use it safely and wisely, they can use it to its greatest advantages.
Just a few years ago it was unthinkable that most school children would have access to devices that could access the internet easily and all at the same time. As schools have progressed towards having a device on every desk in every classroom there have been many debates about whether this kind of technology really does help children learn or whether it is just a very expensive gimmick.
Parents often question me about what part a pen still plays in the lives of children at school and, for me, a pen is still an absolutely vital piece of equipment. Using a pen is quicker and more versatile than any kind of electronic device and so at school, we still place great emphasis on developing good pen grip and handwriting styles. Besides which, all-electronic exams still seem some time off; exam boards have laid the groundwork for this switch from paper-based exams to on-screen but until every school and exam centre can access reliable and secure technology, that just won’t happen.
By using technology in the classroom, both teachers and pupils can develop skills essential for the 21st Century. Children can gain the skills they will need to be successful in the future. Modern learning is about collaborating with others, solving complex problems, critical thinking, developing different forms of communication and leadership skills, and improving motivation and productivity. What is more, technology can help develop many practical skills, including creating presentations, learning to differentiate reliable from unreliable sources on the Internet, maintaining proper online etiquette, and writing emails. These are very important skills that can be developed in the classroom.