Is the pen mightier than the keyboard?

November 16, 2016

In our modern world of technology, parents are often concerned that children aren’t learning when they are using computers. Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning, explains some of the benefits of online learning

Pen and paper or online learning

I often get asked by parents if we use pen and paper-based work at Explore Learning, or is it all done on computers? Whilst we believe a mixture of both is the best way to support children’s handwritten work alongside mastery of topics, we love computers and here are just a few of the many reasons why we embrace the use of technology:

  • Children get an instant response. Instead of spending half an hour on a worksheet only to find that some answers are wrong, using online learning tools means children can do a question and see straight away if they are on the right track, or if they need to adapt to what they are doing. It’s much better to spend 30 minutes being productive than disappointed!
  • Technology can be very engaging. Don’t get me wrong, I love holding a book in my hand, but for many people, this isn’t the case and this can halt their ability to progress. In a study into children having access to e-books, The National Literacy Trust found ‘that during the project, which lasted for an average of 4.2 months, boys’ reading levels increased by an average of 8.4 months, compared to 7.2 months progress made by girls. ‘
  • Adaptive learning benefits. Technology adapts to each individual child’s needs. At Explore Learning we use an incredible tool called SuccessMaker which, alongside the tutors, creates an individual learning path for each child. Children get to cover the work that is going to support their own needs and help them master new skills. Hand out a worksheet to a group of 30 children and the chances are that it won’t be the right level for many of them, whereas with technology you can easily assign different work to different children, without them even realising they are tackling different levels.

The Guardian spoke to parents about their screentime concerns, and many shared some positive ways that it has actively benefited their child.

  • Computing is the future. The curriculum has identified the need to develop confident, creative, computer literate children in order to prepare them for the working world, allowing them to participate safely in the digital world and to continue to develop the global economy.
  • It provides great feedback. For parents, teachers and tutors technology can provide so much feedback on how children are performing. How quickly they answered something, how many attempts it took, can they answer topics consistently or have they retained the same information three months later? You can then adapt your strategy to support each student’s individual needs. The Education Endowment Foundation research has highlighted that feedback has one of the highest impacts on children’s progress. So let’s embrace technology and the great benefits it brings!

Here at Explore, we combine our curriculum and bespoke online teaching tools with dedicated attention from our expert tutors. And an inspiring, vibrant learning environment means our members actually enjoy coming to learn! Discover online tutoring for your child.

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