Guest post by Murray Morrison, leading Education Expert and Founder of Tassomai.com, a leading online learning programme
As parents, we all have very different opinions on screen time and our children’s use of technology in our homes; so when school closures force us all to start homeschooling, confronting our relationship with education technology and finding a balance can be hard.
Trust your instincts
Any programme of home learning is going to be more effective if all parties are “bought in” - so, if leaning on resources and games online doesn’t fill you with joy, or you feel that you’d prefer to do things the analogue way, you should absolutely follow that instinct. Your homeschooling will be all the better for it.
Younger children, of course, are likely to need screen time to be more restricted, but there are fantastic options even for early-years learners, and I’d always advise parents to consider including some of these programs to support their children, but to do so very much with their eyes open….
Explore the options
If you can take a little time to try out some of the edtech platforms by yourself, you’ll get a much better feel for what will work for you. And remember that there is a gigantic range of options out there - from fantastic content resources like Twinkl with its worksheets or GCSEPod to online curriculums like Hegarty Maths, Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize.
Then there are programs that help students to learn through quizzing and games - BBC again has learning games like Karate Cats, there are free trials of maths programs like Numerise from Sparx and there are programs that adapt and personalise to each user like Tassomai.
Talk to your school
A big part of teachers’ jobs is to keep an eye on what works in their subject and recommend what will best fit with their curriculum aims, so seek out their advice. If the school is actively engaged in a tech platform, then your use of it will mean that the teachers can benefit from the data and be more effective in their support for your child.
Look for the evidence
There are plenty of education technology platforms out there that have worked hard to gather evidence and demonstrate an impact from their work…. and others that are a pretty website, but with little validation behind them. See whether the platforms you’re considering have strong reviews on sites like EdTech Impact, or visit the EdTech Evidence Group to find out what good edtech should look like.
Everything in balance
There’s no doubt that quality edtech can boost grades, save time and add welcome variety into a balanced learning programme. No matter what your views on introducing technology, I’d always set an upper limit on any activity, screen or otherwise, so build it into the day and try to keep things as part of a scheduled routine.