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Technology

Today the ‘world’ has become the curriculum for our children, a curriculum accessed through collaborative networks, with networks populated by mobile device users who exist in a constant state of expectancy.

The ‘net’ generation are currently in our classrooms, characterized as born consumers, digital natives, tech-savvy, highly social, continually connected, collaborative, seeking and accessing diverse media, expecting open access to everything.

At CIS Russia we are examining our use of IT in the classroom, its impact upon learning and as a tool for teaching and for communications with the community.

Technology is a way of life, but does it need to be constant? After all we are emotional and social creatures.

The web has always been part of our children’s lives, social media, and entertainment technologies such as film, music, and games are constant components of their everyday experience. Today’s students interact socially in different ways to the generations before them.

Mobile learning is not about technology or delivering content to mobile devices but, most importantly, it is about the processes of ‘coming to know’ and ‘being able to operate successfully in and across’ new and ever-changing context for learning, new knowledge and learning spaces.

A reminder letter was sent to all secondary parents last month, regarding students use of phones in school and at home and the impact it has on others social and emotional welfare. What is acceptable use, how do we treat others on social media? What protocols are in place in the home? Is time and content monitored? Or is it used as a distraction?

The unwired learning space is about to alter significantly the landscape of teaching and learning with and through technology and will affect lifestyles, work, living, family life and interactions.

As a parent myself, I am aware. You are the role model. Your children are watching what you do more than what you say.

Experts agree that healthy media habits begin at home.

We’ve all seen it: tiny fingers miraculously working their way around a smartphone or tablet to locate their favourite apps and games. As parents of digitals natives we have the task of trying to decipher how much is too much and what is helpful or harmful in order to give our children the best start in life.

Researchers, educators and psychologists suggest there are four things to consider:

1. There’s no avoiding digital technology and media, but from a young age we can help children develop healthy media habits. Just like food, there are 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' media choices.

2. Children still need to experience boredom instead of looking for digital pacifiers all the time. Technology and interactive media can enhance learning, however inappropriate or excessive use can be detrimental to young developing brains.

3. Our brains release dopamine, the feel-good hormone, when we use digital devices. Children's brains are particularly drawn to screens with their bright colours and sound effects, and it’s very easy for them to quickly become attached to digital devices and crave more and more of them.

4. As parents, we have the opportunity to model how to ‘switch off’ and show our children how to manage media by not letting it manage us. We can do this by letting silence and quiet time be seen as good things, without the need for a gadget to fill the time. In this way we can balance digital interactivity with real-time activities and free time, for a more balanced family life.

A worthy reflection. Whilst we all agree it’s apart of our lives- Its helps us at work and in learning, however; only we can decide how much of our lives will be dominated by technology.

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