Sandy Warner

Teaching with technology


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Technology and Childhood ~ Part 2

Some of you may have read my earlier post Technology and Childhood about one of my parents exploring the challenges of balancing her childrens’ “childhood’ with the encroaching technology into her family.

Last night our school hosted a forum for her and other parents to discuss the challenges technology may create in families and strategies they use to help them guide their way through the potential minefield this may bring.While some may view the small number of parents that did come along to this forum as a disappointment, I feel that it was a valuable exercise and the parents that did come were engaged and eager to learn from each other and talk about their experiences.. The parents were eager to discuss topics mainly around how technology was impacting on their family lives and also how they can protect their children in regards to cybersafety. Parents clearly enjoyed the opportunity to question each other and discuss the answers that were given. one parent asked at the end of the forum, if we would be willing to host more forums in the future for parents. Which made me think, sometimes as educators do we get it wrong? Instead of just putting workshops on for parents that we think they would find valuable, maybe we should be asking them what they need more?

Our ICT coordinator Kathy Turley did a great job of helping our parents understand the significant changes that technology has had over the past two years in education and society and the impact this has had on teaching and education.We shared a video we had seen previously used to promote a teachers conference in Adelaide which I think shows how important technology is in education.

Finally I would like to share what one of the parents, Louise Brauer’s describes as “ramblings, which I thoroughly enjoyed…

Waking up in the morning busy with the list of chores in my head, I dream of emerging form the walls of our shelter and walking in the dawn light to view the sea, to pause and feel the potential in the day ahead. On the couch lie my babies side by side, fingers busy, eyes glued tight to the small electronic device whose annoying electronic beeping is interupting the birds song. “Come for a ride, lets check the surf” I invite. Technology has them in this moment and I get no response. Yesterday it annoyed me and I banned the ipod’s and insisted the kids get out of the house (tomorrow, I may again), but today i’m not annoyed just curious. Why do they need to escape? Whats in that 5x 10cm arrangement of wires that draws them in so deep they’ve forgotten my lap, and their bodies, or even the thought of breakfast?
I know they will emerge from their trance with time. It doesn’t hold them till the sun sets, thankfully. I guess its an adventure for them. New, limited only by the imagination. I feel I live in a society constrained by rules and limits that i’m now starting to question if they really exist. In some ways I like the way the electronic games open up the possibilities of what is or can be.
I’m sure in the past parents have spurrned book reading as a silly waste of time. Even in my youth I recall a friend whose parents would ban her from reading books as they thought she wasted too much time on them. I imagine most of you, like me, wouldn’t mind your son playing for hours with a pile of lego, constructiong his own world about him. As my son is entranced in Eden World Builder on his ipod, his lego forgotten on the shelf, I ask myself if there really is a big divide between the two forms of play.
I believe the world outside the computer, when opened up, offers my children way more adventure, dreams and love than anything technology has to offer. I have my days when I worry theyre wasteing their life away playing computer games “no more screens” I hear my voice nag “go outside and play”. But today, here in the dawn, when I stop long enough to think, i’m not worried. I know their souls are linked to this earth, and I know their instincts will lead them outside to connect to their lifesource, the earth, beating and breathing all around them. It will fill them with an energy never to be found on an ipod.
I look back on my life and I recall my childhood. I see it as a time when I soaked up the world around me with all 5 senses. Learning how to act and where I fitted in that world. A little explorer seaching for a way to be, trying out the limits, and seeking that which encaptured me. I believe that when my children feel secure in their freedom and assured of unconditional love, that they will experience a healthy childhood filled with adventure. I believe they will be drawn away from their ipods and into the world of people and life around them ,naturally, without my nagging. Just as long as I teach them how to listen to their instincts.
I have feared that my children spend too much time absorbed by the screens in our lives, but having paused to question that fear, I am relieved of it. I believe that my 2 year old playing on an ipod is learning just as much as in other forms of play, and I trust that she won’t play on it forever for she’ll be drawn (as I am drawn away from this computer) out to resonate with the lifeforce of the people and the earth around her.
Our mids are made to dream
Our bodies are made to move
Our hearts are made to connect
Pondering this I have come to the conculsion that im not bothered about rules of how much? and when? and where? it is appropiate for my kids to use technology, but that I need to teach them to feel and listen to their instincts so that they will choose the right time to turn them off, to move their bodies and connect again to the rest of this amazing world that is open to them. (on Technology and Childhood, Louise Brauer)