The Digital Youth Symposium recently took place in the Science Gallery of Trinity College, Dublin where leading experts in education gathered to discuss the opportunities and risks of children’s engagement with the internet and other emerging technologies. The event brought together a number of organisations such as the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA), UNESCO, OECD, The Irish Times and academic researchers to consider the impact of technology on the education of young people. For a full list of speakers at the event see here.
On the agenda for the event was the emergence of modern technology and its application in the classroom. Teachers were encouraged to embrace technology in the classroom and integrate digital media into the pupil’s learning experience as it:
- Improves pupil engagement
- Can be conveniently accessed
- Increases productivity and homework completion
Ann Looney, Chief Executive of the NCCA, described how school is the place and time where a person’s identity is formed and it is essential that digital technology is seamlessly integrated into this process. Ann posed a number of topical questions during her discussion; why has technology not radically transformed schools and teaching? What is holding us back from change? Nostalgia. We like to retain the fond memories of our youth and hope for the same experiences for the next generation of school children.
Schools have come a long way. Many primary and secondary schools nationwide now have access to computers and the internet in their classrooms with 100MB broadband promised in every post-primary school in the country by 2014. Principals, secretaries and teachers are using school management systems such as Edvance to improve internal processes enabling teachers to focus educating pupils to the highest standard. Teachers are using Edvance to cultivate digital media skills in their pupils by encouraging them to use Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, discussion boards and project sites to complete online homework.
Generation Z are growing up with access to the internet, digital media and other technologies but need to be taught how to use these tools to their advantage. We may have taken the first steps by installing the hardware but we need to encourage an environment of digital media literacy.
Overall the Digital Youth event was hugely successful and provided a wealth of interesting and informative content. The discussion motivates us to continue to build the Edvance and ExamTime communities to help others embrace technology in their education.