Digital positives: devices in the classroom

Educators must be ready to adapt as technology evolves

Many parents and teachers have growing concerns about the potentially negative effects of smartphones, tablets and laptops. Are children, they wonder, becoming too reliant upon digital devices? Does the ease of access to sources of online entertainment cause students to become distracted? How does the use of these devices affect young people's attention spans and ability to retain knowledge?

While we might hear a lot about the negative impacts of digital technology, however, it could be that some positives are being overlooked.

David Edwards, Head of Education at GEMS World Academy, Singapore, recently featured in a panel of experts speaking at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for Schools in the Cloud? Globalisation, Innovation and the Future of Learning, part of the Perspectives series, which aired on Channel NewsAsia earlier this month. Speaking alongside David were Professor Tan Neg Chye, Deputy President of Academic Affairs and Provost at NUS; Stephanie Hung, a Senior Director at Microsoft Singapore; and Dr Richard Yen, the Managing Director of Ednovation. The discussion centred on how schools should adapt to technological developments and prepare students, in the face of globalisation, for ongoing innovation.

David, along with the other members of the panel, was keen to stress the positives. It’s important to remember, he pointed out, that, through the use of devices such as smartphones and tablets, students have vast knowledge resources at their fingertips. The use of digital technology in the classroom can actually enhance the learning experience, he said, helping students to develop important collaborative skills and become more tech literate.

In a world where education is increasingly data-driven, it’s important that schools keep up with innovation and change. David emphasised the importance of the culture within individual schools when it comes to their ability to adapt; it is crucial, he said, for schools to recognise they need to take risks and not be afraid to incorporate digital technology into the learning environment but, at the same time, to keep parents informed.

You can read more about the show on Channel NewsAsia’s site

Find out how GEMS World Academy Singapore is using technology to its advantage here.

Published: 28th September 2015