Lack of learning literacy due to overuse of technology
LEARNING LITERACY VERSUS TECHNOLOGY
A pre-eminent international school approached Noble and Eaton after realising they had a growing issue with a lack of literacy due to overuse of technology. Children from very young ages were far too regularly using touch screens with no real supervision or guidance, leading to simplistic use such as mindlessly scrolling on mobile phones or hours spent using touch screens.
The school – seeing a negative effect on pupils of all ages – wanted to evaluate and address this before any significant damage could be done to their students’ pre-adolescent minds. Their challenge was to try to build a strong foundation of literacy and cognitive skills as well as aiming to increase parental engagement and they approached our educational consultancy for guidance and advice to successfully implement these.
Known for their high achieving and sporting students, the school soon realised that an overreliance on mobile phones and other screens was having a significantly adverse effect on the physical and mental health of pupils of all ages. Children at the school were becoming less engaged, but with students previously well known for being part of a wonderful learning community and regularly achieving success both in and out of school, this was a situation that could not continue.
School at any level of education is a fundamental part of growing up and staff felt reversing the lack of learning literacy had become a priority – we agreed with them. Our strategic consultancy group is dedicated to transforming schools and the futures of their people and our experience is built on many years of educational specialisms.
As our lead consultant Dr Adam England says:
“There is a major problem in a number of schools both domestically and globally where children are exposed to an imbalance or overuse of technology. Let me be clear – overuse in this area is not the same as digital skills, which are as much about knowing when and when not to use technology in appropriate situations. For example, you may be tasked to use certain skills that require you use a computer or phone at times, but other times you might need to ideate, collaborate, problem solve and create knowledge with colleagues instead. Digital skills – which we should foster as a skillset – are not the same as an over reliance of technology.
When you come across this over reliance on technology and simplification of students’ digital skillset what would you do about it? For me – as a former Principal Headteacher at an international school – I was concerned that children’s literacy was being significantly eroded by scrolling on the phone. I decided the first and most important step was to educate our parents by the use of seminars. Invitations went out to parents, teachers and influencers to understand the impact of young children using touch screen technology too regularly and over simplistically. We held three sessions and in the first session we had around 5 parents. The second one brought nearer 40 and by our third we had approximately 300 parents in attendance.
After one of the first sessions I saw a number of young parents very upset at the thought they were putting their children at risk by exposing them to high levels of technology from young ages. These parents were however very receptive to countermeasures such as limiting access to such technology to ensure they could manage their children’s development in a more positive way. They recognised that their children needed to learn suitable literacy and cognitive skills by interacting with parents, friends, brothers and sisters, peers and so on as these fundamental interactions develop their neurology from a very early age, teaching them to read, write, speak, listen, solve problems and grow into functional adults.
Once these corrective measures were put in place in CIS Lagos, every single year group and key stage had performance measures well beyond their expected results. Students were much happier and showed better self-esteem, as a result of which we saw confidence in our children grew markedly.
My message to Headteachers is simple – if you see over reliance on technology in your schools don’t be afraid to address it. Start with parents as they are your main influencers and see what benefits the changes bring to your families, staff and students.”
Determined to address and overcome the problem, the Headteacher and staff of this popular establishment decided to make immediate changes and worked tirelessly to instill these. The school began by disseminating key information to parents and carers by way of seminars devised by Noble and Eaton; our education consultancy has worked with a number of schools to leverage the learning environment, maximising positive outcomes for many children both in the UK and internationally.
Following these informative seminars, parents’ increased awareness and their willingness to tackle the issue, we were delighted to see that they became extremely engaged with the school and were very supportive. As a direct result each key stage and year group showed fantastic progress with increased performance results. It was a pleasure for us to report that every single class was improved, students’ self esteem rose and children were happier, more confident and more successful learners.
Noble and Eaton have created a range of helpful guides for school leaders. We have extensive experience and success leading schools in the UK and internationally.
If your school has faced similar issues you can find out more information with our parent webinar guides. These helpful and incisive manuals explain how you can achieve positive outcomes for your school by increasing both parental engagement and your students’ health, wellbeing and success.
For more details on our parent webinar guides contact us