The Technology Generation…
BY ALEXANDRA RUTHERFORD
Since falling pregnant for the first time, I’ve been struck by two, truly unexpected phenomenon.
The first is the uncanny way that sharing my news with any other woman seems to trigger the release of some invisible valve. From this pours a series of extremely graphic and equally horrifying accounts of both a first and second-hand nature, that I will never be able to un-hear.
The second, and less confronting of the two, is the way my internal radar, previously used strictly for the identification of cute dogs, has seemingly recalibrated itself. The result being a hyper awareness of the shorter, chubbier sector of the population; small children. I can’t go anywhere without accidentally setting off a “ping”. Cinemas, restaurants, dog parks (yes, you can exercise children there too apparently). And the absolute strangest part, is that almost every child I come across seems to come paired with a smart phone or tablet. Do they come with that? After the midwives roll me down the hallway to the delivery room, much like the oompa loompas roll Violet Beauregarde to the juicer (because believe me, that’s how big I feel), will they be placing my new baby in one hand and a smart device in the other?
I mentioned my observation at a lunch with one of my aunts – a principal of a public school, and was genuinely surprised when she started laughing at me. Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock. She asked me why I thought it was such a feat these days for teachers in a classroom to retain all their student’s attention?
All the normal challenges of the past still exist, of course. Children responding to learning in different ways and at a different pace, but now there’s the added challenge of maintaining a classroom of 20-25 children’s attention when they have been raised accustomed to constant entertainment and interaction. Children grow up with touchscreens; it’s instinctive for them. Yet the world expects them to sit still and pay attention as teachers do their best to educate them, equipped with out-of-date technology that is in equal parts unfamiliar and unstimulating to this new generation.
But what can be done? Parents can’t be blamed for utilising whatever means necessary to achieve a much deserved and well-earned moment of peace from the chaos that is often parenthood. Taking the devices away is never going to be a long-term solution, in fact, it would vastly impact the technical evolution of our society.
To me, the answer seemed obvious. Children in classrooms need to be taught in their own language. A language they all grow up with, that unites even those who have had their education suffer due to auditory or speech impairments. The language of touch.
Large format interactive touchscreens bridge the gap between small personal devices and collective classroom learning. Implementing touch in the classroom turns what use to be the educators’ greatest competitor, into an ally. Captivate, engage, and continue to nurture the minds of students and young children.