Back in my day if I wanted to learn something beyond the classroom, or needed some information for a project, I headed to our World Book encyclopedia. If we needed more information, we would go to the library and see what was available, and hope that none of our classmates had taken out the books we wanted for similar projects.
My nine-year-old son thinks it’s incredible, and sometimes chuckles about the fact, that there was no Google or internet when I was his age, and that I had to risk a paper cut to get my information! Learning and access to info have obviously been revolutionised since then, but so has the pressure to excel, gain more skills and have an edge in order to fare well in the world.
I’m by no means a Tiger Mom, but I’m trying to encourage extra learning for my son where I can. He got an iPad fairly early on, and I recently sent him on a coding workshop to start getting familiar with the basics. No one is saying that kids shouldn’t play outside or read books in hard copy, but digital literacy plays an important role in defining a child’s ability to succeed, both in school and throughout their lives.
For every person though shouting the praises of digital literacy, there are parents and educators who feel that we live in an ‘age of distraction’ and that students must be pried away from their devices if they are ever going to focus long enough to learn. However, there’s a lot of evidence that shows that technology can enhance, enrich and augment learning by introducing active and engaging learning activities across all grades.
I’ve seen how my son has thrived with apps and supplementary learning on his iPad, whether it’s been learning new skills (he learnt how to spell when he was four from an app), sourcing more info for projects, or learning problem-solving on Minecraft, for example.
Children are fascinated by technology, so when they learn through technology, it’s equal parts entertainment and education. This also provides us with the opportunity to teach them the skills that they will need to thrive in the digital world of the future.
For the next few weeks, my child and I will be exploring more about the world of digital literacy through Vodacom e-School – Vodacom’s curriculum-aligned digital education portal.
To find out more about Vodacom e-school please click here.