According to an article in the Canberra Times, the ACT Education and Training Directorate has spent $2.5 million on tablet computers since 2010, with 5160 now in ACT public schools.
Although this averages one tablet per 8 children, I can imagine the real breakdown is likely to vary wildly from school to school, particularly with socio economic backgrounds of students. Or perhaps that’s presumptive of me.
Before children I was anti screen time all together. Of course, once reality struck, TV became a staple (if ABC ever drop Play School during the witching hour life might well grind to a halt). I have however stuck with this in regard to computers. I have resisted the urge to put games on my iPad and the kids have just never been introduced to the wonders of the web. That being said they are toddlers and pre-schoolers so it’s relatively easy to make this decision.
I must admit though that a friend visited from overseas last year with her 2 year old daughter who was completely comfortable with her iPad, navigating her way around and working magic. It made me wonder if I was essentially holding my kids back by not introducing them to such delights. After all, this is the world they will grow up in and it will be entirely different to the one I grew up in.
Psychologist and author, Dr Aric Sigman addressed a conference of childcare workers in the UK over the weekend, talking about the issues with developing multi tasking at the same time as concentration (which computer use essentially does), limiting the ability to pay attention to a teacher or communicate (for more see The Telegraph) and calling for a ban on computer use for children under nine.
And yet Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sessions are commonplace in Primary Schools.
What side do you come down on? Get them adjusted to technology and all it’s capabilities young to prepare them to life as they grow, or keep it simpler and focus on, well – focus?