One of the most serious parenting decisions people have had to take in recent times has been the age at which they would give their children technological ‘freedom’. Simply put, this would be the age at which a mobile phone would be placed into a child’s hand, providing access to things she or he cannot quite comprehend yet, such as social media, WhatsApp, games and the world wide web. The problem here is that parents and educators too, do not entirely understand the seriousness of what their child has the potential to encounter through such devices.
“Our school is equipped with E-Learning Classrooms” – is a common line found on most school prospectuses nowadays, attracting admissions like insects to a light bulb. When we questioned some parents to understand why they are obsessing over E-learning classrooms, we got a simple answer – they thought, with the present educated and graduate unemployment rates in our country, the only way their child will stand out and bag a job is if she/he studied in one of these ‘E-learning classrooms’.
This is not the case – simply because most parents do not understand what it means for their child to have ‘technological skills’.
E-Learning is very vaguely defined in today’s educational sphere, with everyone from App developers to Smart board companies using this term in their promotions. A majority of these ‘E-learning’ classrooms in India have become nothing more than a fruitful market for developers to dump their content upon, without paying heed to the needs of the hour.
Early stages of education need to pave the way for shaping thought processes, cognitive abilities and reasoning skills of a child, to lay a firm yet versatile foundation upon which the load of their approaching years can rest. As many parents and educators would agree, it most definitely should not be any kind of exposure that gets a child hooked on, especially one that could put their safety and mental environment at risk.
A student explaining his solution for overwatering- a regular problem in his field
At our workshops with primary grade children, we focus on providing them with stimulating scenarios where they are aware and consciously made to think about their own selves, their immediate environments and the issues that occupy space in their daily routines, which could be as simple as filling hot water for bathing to ensuring their parents’ fields are kept healthy and lush. We then take them through processes that help them see technology in its most bare state, so that it could be used as a tool that reduces human effort in solving these small problems. After working with these students, we can confidently say, being able to solve these problems is enough motivation for students to learn about technology, rather than requiring manipulative marketing techniques that catch their attention.
Fixing the wiring to complete her experiment’s circuit
As responsible adults shaping the future minds of our country, we want them to learn skills that they can apply in every walk of life, in whichever situation they find themselves in, so that they are able to use their logical reasoning, problem solving and design thinking mindsets regardless of the setting. We show them technology in it’s true essence, as a tool that reduces effort and overcomes human limitations. We want our students to shine through their own individual effort, and want to give them an experience of all that goes behind finding success – the toil, the planning and the hard-work that would ultimately teach them to believe in themselves and their own abilities, however young they may be.
Lastly, we’d like educators and parents alike to think about this – Do you really think the educated, unemployed and easily ‘laid-off’ youth in our country today do not know how to navigate the internet, use social media or read/watch content online? Are they not then, technologically well versed? How come they still do not have jobs?