This month is technology month
The issue of children’s use of technology is one that we are often asked about and so this month we are sharing ideas and information about the crucial role technology can play in supporting children’s language development by creating new opportunities for interaction and engagement. Television, tablets, smart phones and computers all provide a wealth of activities for children to practise their language skills, and for adults around them to use these opportunities to offer support.
We are in the midst of a major technology revolution, specifically a digital revolution. Children now entering school are fully fledged digital natives. Recent research by Ofcom found that six-year-olds have the same understanding of communications technology as 45-year-olds, and a ‘millennium generation’ of 14- and 15-year-olds are the most tech-savvy in the UK. Over four in 10 households now have a tablet, meaning that children are becoming computer-literate before they’ve even started primary school. This research is indicative of our expanding digital era and increases the need to consider the impact on children’s early language development.
Of course, while the use of technology can be used to support speech, language and communication, early years specialists and experts agree that digital technology should not be used as a replacement to face to face interaction but rather used as a tool to supplement teaching and learning. Crucially it is the interaction between the adult and the child that supports language development; digital technology such as apps are a way of facilitating this interaction in the same way as a book or some toys might do. I CAN advise that when using tablets, iphones or other digital technology to support communication parents and practitioners alike should remain present to support the child’s understanding and use of learning.