Practically every child in Australia has some access to technology, whether it’s a computer, smartphone, tablet or something else. Many people claim that technology is making us and our children antisocial. The above image is an example of how many people see these devices, a simple way of ignoring others. But is this really the case?
There are about as many viewpoints as there are devices when it comes to this topic. This article discusses how technology has altered the way our children communicate. The perspectives differ wildly, with one man calling smartphones ‘toxic’, and claiming that they are stopping kids from developing empathy, while others claim that they raise self-esteem and confidence.
As educators, we are required to incorporate ICTs into our classrooms. As an extension of that, we need to be literate in these various devices and technologies that our students will be using. No matter what our viewpoint is, we have to have an understanding of how technology is used, and more importantly how our students are using it.The limited verbal or face-to-face communication of some students is a valid concern. Are there skills that students are lacking? If so, what can we do about it?
Helping students develop communication skills
One suggestion that the article has is using a ‘class meeting’ to encourage students to voice any concerns or comments they may have about events that are important in their lives. Students can have a discussion while developing important conversational skills. This can assist students in developing an emotional vocabulary which can in turn assist them in situations that occur online as well. There are also games that can assist students in developing problem solving skills that may not be gained through online communication.
The bottom line:
Technology is a great tool that is revolutionising the way we communicate. We can speak to others on the other side of the world in a matter of moments, all with the click of a mouse (or button). There are so many positive aspects to this, but as with everything, there are also plenty of downsides.
What’s your opinion? As teachers (or future teachers), what can we do to ensure our students are set up for success?