If we turn off the device, do we turn off the child?

Oct 09, 2015 Categories: Changing_Times, Education Today

In the workshops I run with school leaders I do an activity that gets them to look at a lot of quotes around education and technology today. The idea is that they start talking about what’s possible in their schools – based on what the experts say we should be doing.

One of these quotes from Stephen Heppell is always, always controversial:

If we turn off the device, we turn off the child

What do you think? Is that true….?

For me, technology is a tool that supports learning – and it should be supporting good learning that is interactive, collaborative, student-centred, student-driven and focused on individual improvement, not on whole school score improvement.

i also think that if you do turn off the device and the child turns off, it reflects more on us as teachers – not the device! If we have a child in front of us and we lose their attention as soon as the iPads get put away, well, it’s not a favourable comparison is it? We lose to a piece of metal and silicone. Not great.

I think teachers today are MORE important than they ever have been.

Our kids have access to so much information and opinions. It’s up to teachers to help them sift through the endless data that they come across, decide what is valid or true and make sense of it for themselves in their world. Not an easy task.

Good teaching does this. A device is just a tool to get there – so if a good teacher turns off the device, the child shouldn’t really notice. Because a good teacher will use the device to support good learning and use the device when it’s going to add value to the learning.

What do you think? Should we let kids have devices ‘on’ all the time?

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