A first!

I became a granddad for the first time recently.

I won’t dwell on all the emotions one feels, though they are many and deep.

It just made me wonder what sort of world this little baby will inherit in a technological sense. Times tables and slide rules were the high tech of my schooldays. Will his be characterized by 3D smart boards and paper-thin tablets? By as yet unconceived devices and their stunningly complex algorithms? By technology innovated and developed by machines themselves?

Almost certainly, but that doesn’t overwrite the curiosity and interest students must bring to learning. Technology can help a good teacher to clarify, explain, demonstrate, but without engaged students there is no real learning.

So will educational computer programs become like games? Some will, and they’ll succeed very often. But I hope others will be seen as cool skill-trainers which empower students in ways hitherto impossible to achieve.

Schools which provide time for students to sit at a computer and do a touch-typing course are empowering them with an incredibly useful skill for life.

Kids whose parents send them for lessons to learn a musical instrument will end up thanking them and their lucky stars even if they rarely play, because they’ll be able to if they want to. I have promised to pay for my grandson’s future piano lessons.

It would also be grand to think that he might also benefit from my next app – the primary school classroom Music Reading Trainer for descant recorder. It’s nearly ready to take into neighbouring schools for testing.

3D? No. Stunningly complex? Not really.

But in its own small way also a first.

Posted by Julian Wright

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