Pros and cons of technology in childhood learning

27 December, 2011

Pros and cons of technology in childhood learning

Using technology alongside physical activities and demonstrations can help them learn more interactively.

Nowadays, technology is one of the most frequently used tools which is utilised both inside and outside the classroom. Whilst this can provide children with an invaluable resource and easy access to a wealth of information, it can have its disadvantages as well. So, how can technology be both a help and a hindrance?

It is indisputable that technology is an integral part of our lives, characterising a number of our everyday functions. The role of it within the classroom is something that has developed over time and whereas children of generations past would have used libraries to research their projects and assignments, the internet is now the first port of call.

This change in habits has led to much debate over whether the shift is beneficial or not and the truth is, so long as it is used correctly, technology can be a huge asset to learning and reading development.

According to a report from the Department of Education, the use of advanced computing and technology within education can make “the process of learning […] significantly richer as students have access to new and different types of information” and “[if] properly used […] can enhance the achievements of all students”.

The use of the internet and other resources means that finding information is much easier and children will have access to a wider range of sources. The use of e-books can also help students to find reading more enjoyable, giving them an innovative way in which to enjoy a fictional or non-fictional work.

Technology can also allow children to represent their work through graphic designs by creating graphs, typing assignments and learning other skills which are likely to be invaluable throughout their working lives. Children’s learning can be enhanced in this way with specialist programs and even basic functions such as spell check in word documents can help learning to become more intuitive.

As with all things, there are disadvantages to the use of technology and if not correctly implemented this can hinder the learning capability of children. When children are simply left to use technology unassisted then, naturally, learning will not be encouraged or enhanced. There has also been discussion over how the use of technology has led to fewer children reading and engaging with other forms of learning.

In short, the answer is to combine both traditional learning styles with more modern technological devices. This will allow technology to supplement rather than dominate a child’s development, helping children to achieve the best results.

Within the classroom, this can be done by using technology alongside physical activities and demonstrations – helping to make learning more interactive. Outside of the classroom, the use of electronic devices and learning aids can help children to develop their reading skills, as well as many other key learning traits. The use of interactive games in these forms of technology are perhaps the best way to help enhance learning and are a great way to boost a child’s educational development.