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posted by janrinok on Tuesday August 12 2014, @09:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the children-should-teach-their-parents dept.

Findings from research conducted for UK retailer John Lewis suggest parents recognise the benefits of using technology in the classroom, but struggle to understand the devices themselves.

John Lewis ... held technology clinics with parents and teachers to bridge the digital divide between the younger generation who have grown up with smartphones and tablets, and those who didn't.

41% of parents admitted that they did not fully understand how technology is used in the classroom, but 69% said they felt their children's progress at school had improved thanks to technology.

Drew Buddie, senior vice chairman at Naace, the association for the UK's education technology community said: "The use of mobile digital technologies in the classroom might be largely unfamiliar to parents, but the benefits can be huge.

Matt Leeser, head of buying for communications technology at John Lewis said: "The classroom of 2014 provides students with a very different experience to when I was at school. Whether it's studying maths using a tablet app or streaming videos to research a new assignment, innovative technology is giving pupils more interactive and engaging lessons that foster both independent and collaborative learning. The research shows that parents understand the benefits, but can struggle to relate to an experience that's so different from their own school days. They don't always know which products will be best, or where they can turn for advice."

Unsurprisingly Matt Leeser goes on to suggest that parents should visit John Lewis for advice. Other than pander to parental fears about doing their children harm, the findings of this research are probably a no-brainer to many here. Does the SN parental community have any advice on how to support their children in the use of new technologies in education?

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday August 12 2014, @09:59PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @09:59PM (#80620)

    Writing as the parent of kids with school issued ipads

    "recognise the benefits of using technology"

    is summarized as someone made money making it, and selling it to the school, and likely a kickback buying it. Thats about it.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:08PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:08PM (#80622)

    > it's studying maths using a tablet app

    Anyone knows an app where you can write a serious equation, in less time than it takes to fill a full page by hand?

    > or streaming videos to research a new assignment

    When I grew up, the 30-minutes 8PM news (no ads) contained less words and topics than the first page of any of the major newspapers.
    Videos are rarely a good research medium. The information density tends to be much lower, the nuances and counterpoints rarely more than a shallow checkbox.

    > innovative technology is giving pupils more interactive and engaging lessons that foster both independent and collaborative learning.

    Useful yardstick: What's left of that learning after the summer break?
    Interactive and engaging are a great way to replace strong discipline, but I want to see evidence that the more entertaining learning is actually conducive to equivalent or better hard knowledge retention...

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:15PM

    by frojack (1554) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:15PM (#80626) Journal

    Kids these days already know how to use the tech better than the teachers.

    Kids stream video on tables, read, play games (some of them educational) on everything from desktops to iphones before they are in school. Who are these dunderhead parents that can't figure out an iPad but their kids know more about tablets and computers than the teachers?

    I don't believe these parents actually exist, because even my heavily tattooed and pierced neighbor mom knows her way around an android smartphone and uses it to call and electrician to flip a breaker back on when she vacuums up the kids shoelaces. What soccer mom hasn't got the kids game schedules loaded on the phone?

    I suspect the clue was in the first sentence: "RETAILER John Lewis".

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by SrLnclt on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:30PM

    by SrLnclt (1473) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:30PM (#80629)

    When I was a kid in the early to mid 90's many of my friends were computer nerds long before it was accepted or considered cool. Most of their parents had no idea all the stuff that that could be done on their shiny new home computer, but their kids sure did. Some things never change.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:42PM (#80636)

      These mobile gizmos today are a consumer tech, whereas home computers back in the days were more like a multi-purpose lab equipment. Give the kids a curious gizmo without an obvious purpose, they'll tinker with it and learn something. Give them a smartphone, they'll just run up the bill and not do any school work.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by isostatic on Wednesday August 13 2014, @12:36PM

        by isostatic (365) on Wednesday August 13 2014, @12:36PM (#80777) Journal

        This is the problem, to the average teacher/parent/senator, an ipad is just as much a computer as a comodore 64. The fact the hours typing in games from magazines, then learning how to debug them, was useful work, where clicking "buy angry birds 3" isn't, bypasses them.

        The other benefit in the 90s was we didn't have the kind of internet that exists today -- it was far harder to waste time, and that time you did waste was usually in arguments about Picard vs Kirk on alt.nerd.who.kicks.ass (At least until 93, when Sisko took over), but at least you were interacting, not just watching videos of monkeys scratching their butts.

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:38PM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:38PM (#80633) Journal

    IMO, the best thing you can do at home is turn the "technology" off, especially with younger children.

    WHO adds television, tablet and pc use for total screen time, and reccomends less than two hours a week total. (Will try and find athe citation in a later post)

    So..kids get hours of screen time, even at preschool, therefore they shouldn't get any at home.

    I know, this is impossible (getting children out of the way while you cook, calming them down when over-tired, etc etc.) but it does suggest adding new gadgets is NOT the way to go.

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MostCynical on Wednesday August 13 2014, @08:01AM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday August 13 2014, @08:01AM (#80732) Journal

      Citation for hours of screen time..
      Not WHO -actually a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Public Education, 2000–2001.
      Children, Adolescents, and Television
      Full text: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full [aappublications.org]

      Some of the recommendations: ("videocassette" - how 20th Century!)

      Pediatricians should recommend the following guidelines for parents:

      Limit children's total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.

      Remove television sets from children's bedrooms.

      Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.

      Monitor the shows children and adolescents are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.

      View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. Two recent surveys involving a total of nearly 1500 parents found that less than half of parents reported always watching television with their children.

      Use controversial programming as a stepping-off point to initiate discussions about family values, violence, sex and sexuality, and drugs.

      Use the videocassette recorder wisely to show or record high-quality, educational programming for children.

      Support efforts to establish comprehensive media-education programs in schools.

      Encourage alternative entertainment for children, including reading, athletics, hobbies, and creative play.

      --
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cafebabe on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:40PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @10:40PM (#80634) Journal

    I was under the impression that kids sat through up to six PowerPoint presentations per day. And these presentations were either taken from a repository of approved presentations [soylentnews.org] or purchased with the educational resource budget because the teachers are too overloaded to make their own. And interactive lessons are proprietary, subscription SaaS [soylentnews.org] websites. But, hey, at least those terminals [soylentnews.org] might be open [soylentnews.org].

    --
    1702845791×2
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday August 13 2014, @07:05PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday August 13 2014, @07:05PM (#80941) Journal

      I was under the impression that kids sat through up to six PowerPoint presentations per day. And these presentations were either taken from a repository of approved presentations [soylentnews.org] or purchased with the educational resource budget because the teachers are too overloaded to make their own. And interactive lessons are proprietary, subscription SaaS [soylentnews.org] websites. But, hey, at least those terminals [soylentnews.org] might be open [soylentnews.org].

       
      I have four friends who are teachers and none of them have experienced any of this.
       
      I think someone is trying to sell something with stories like this but it is hard to tell what. Political power, actual tech, I don't know but the scare stories you see in the news don't appear to reflect the situation on the ground.

  • (Score: 2) by gallondr00nk on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:00PM

    by gallondr00nk (392) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:00PM (#80642)

    And contrary to popular quotation, in this instance the medium is not the message. Tablets aren't education.

    I do like the astonishingly wide eyed optimism that comes over teaching (or rather, their private contractors) every time a new technology comes along. They still manage to muster a sort of early 90's "information superhighway" style of unquestioning technophilia.

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:13PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:13PM (#80644) Journal

      It is an information superhighway. It has slow lanes [soylentnews.org], toll roads [soylentnews.org] and huge numbers of people who drive like jerks [soylentnews.org].

      --
      1702845791×2
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday August 13 2014, @12:06PM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday August 13 2014, @12:06PM (#80770)

      "unquestioning technophilia"

      Never forget conspicuous consumption. Nobody wants a rasp pi in our schools because they're cheap.

      The district I live in can quite easily afford ipads for all the kids and heavily advertises that fact. Whats important is we spent money, publicly, and even more importantly, neighboring districts can't afford that, heck they can barely afford to pay the electric bill in some cases. The district my sister in law teaches in, is not quite so prosperous and needless to say they're not buying ipads.

      The kids in the poorer district are probably getting better educations because they're doing math instead of playing angry birds in class, which is annoying. And facetime, thats another problem.

  • (Score: 2) by khallow on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:16PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 12 2014, @11:16PM (#80646) Journal

    If parents really are struggling to keep up with the technology, then you know the teachers are too. Probably the students as well at least till they figure out how to jailbreak it into doing something useful.

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday August 13 2014, @04:10AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday August 13 2014, @04:10AM (#80701) Journal

    I'm the chair of the technology advancement committee for the PTA of my kids' school, so I have some perspective on this. Working in IT, having been in the business world for decades, everyone uses computers for everything, everyday. To me, it's so second nature to professional and every other activity that it would no more occur to me to question the value and use of computers than it would be to question the value and use of being able to read. That is not so in our schools.

    Now, that's not to say that every school in America is the same. I'm sure there are some out there that exemplify the use of computers to enhance learning. Ours, a smaller elementary school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, an affluent, heavily family-friendly neighborhood, ought to be ahead of the curve and yet seems to have travelled through a time warp from the early 70's as far as technology is concerned.

    It's not that the school lacks equipment. Every classroom has a smartboard, but only two teachers in the entire school use them. Everyone received training on how to use them effectively, but it was not how they learned to teach in Teacher's College and the older teachers, who have taught the same way for decades, are set in their ways. Even the younger teachers, Gen-Xers, are mostly intimidated by computers in the classroom because they were socialized into a hidebound professional culture. Also, they suffer from the mystification that American culture wraps all science and technology in. We had one woman wail that she couldn't use the new fax machine because she hadn't been trained on it (what's there to know? dial the number, slap the paper down, and hit 'Send'! fax technology hasn't changed in 40 years).

    So there's more to it on an operational level than putting a particular piece of equipment in students' hands. Teachers have to understand how to use it on a pedagogical, quasi gut level. It may go deeper than that still. It may be the pedagogical model we've been using for the last 200 years, of teaching separate subjects separately, no longer works. If the way teachers teach doesn't change, no new piece of tech will make a difference.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.