It might feel as though we have done quite a few blogs recently on education, but it’s such an important subject to us, and there is just so much to talk about!
At one of our recent meetings, Sara O’Connor mentioned that during the July Children’s Media Conference it was reported that three schools in the UK now exclusively use electronic tablets to teach, and that South Korea, India and Turkey are launching initiatives to give all children access to tablets.
This got me thinking about how children used to be given slates and chalk to learn on. Much like the electronic tablets, you would be given your own slate, be expected to take very good care of it, and then hand it back at the end of the day. Also, just like electronic tablets, slates were considered an expensive break-through in learning technology – a revolutionary way for children to learn to read and write.
I don’t doubt that tablets are a really useful tool for children who don’t find traditional methods of learning accessible. However, (and although I’m all for children having access to technology – especially children who might not get that access at home) I am a bit concerned that old-fashioned hand-writing might suffer if we’re only teaching our children to type – or to write using their fingers on a touchscreen. We already know we don’t send letters like we used to and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day hand-writing becomes completely obsolete. Also, I am a bit concerned that if we become completely reliant on computers, we are tempting some kind of SKYNET future. ALSO – how will kids throw notes to each other in class if there are no notebooks?!
But that could just be me being a fuddy-duddy – what does everyone else think? Is handwriting dead – and should we therefore adapt our teaching to reflect that – or should we make sure our kids still know how to use a pen and paper?