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Head of School Blog

Aug 13, 2015

Balance & Technology


Balance - is a difficult thing to achieve. Technology, I feel is no different. For the past number of years there has been a push to provide more technology in the classroom.

Balance - is a difficult thing to achieve. I remember the old fashioned see saw in the park as a child. The idea of the design was for one person to sit on one side and another, similarly sized person to sit on the other to achieve the movement necessary for the see saw to operate. Usually though, my brothers and I couldn't get the motion going effectively as we were different ages. Usually what ended up happening, was I would stand at the centre of the see saw and try to get balance that way as I leaned one way and countered by leaning the other way.
Technology, I feel is no different. For the past number of years there has been a push to provide more technology in the classroom. We have been told this is the way of the future and that these tools will improve student learning. My argument has always been that these tools are just that, tools that can be effective or ineffective, dependent on the user and the instructor. 
Whilst St Peter's provides devices that support and encourage student learning, that encourage students to be creators of content rather than just consumers of content, we cannot ignore the potential dangers of the online world. 
 
In a recent post in the New York Times, the author alerts parents to the dangers of excessive screen time. Online addiction, aggression and dangers associated with online bullying, predators and over sexualisation of our children are very real dangers for our students who no longer sit at a desktop in a family room, but rather have access to multiple devices, with wireless capacity in every room of the house. It is not uncommon for children to take their devices to friends homes, connect to their wifi and join online activities, sadly more often than not, many parents are oblivious to this.
I see children in cafes and restaurants attached to their ipads, even in the back seat of cars between home and school, students as young as two are becoming dependent on technology. The art of interaction, of conversation, of debate and imagination are lacking in many of the students of today, yet it doesn't have to be this way.
Balance is the key, the tool - the device isn't the problem, it is the user and their understanding of it. Finding an appropriate balance, time enjoying and exploring the wonders of the online world, within safe parameters to protect the innocence and safety of our students, as well as allowing 
students to play, to kick a ball, to ride a bike, to have a conversation in the car or over a latte and milkshake at the café. 
I know that I'll be reflecting on the balance that exists in my household. I encourage you to do likewise. 

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