With an increase of technology in our daily lives, it can be difficult to determine the right balance of technology usage for our children. Is too much technology a bad thing, or are there some benefits to it? Is technology usage aiding or harming the educational needs of children? We read an article in The Gifted Education Communicator that attempts to answer these questions based on the specific needs of gifted children. This article, written by James T. Webb, Ph.D. and Janet L. Gore, M.A., is from several years ago, but we feel that it is still relevant today. Technology continues to develop and become a part of our everyday lives, and “[it] is almost certain to expand beyond even our wildest imaginations in the next decade”.
Here at Grayson we talk a lot about how to use technology to engage students in a meaningful way. We want our students to be able to use technology in ways that will advance their learning and develop their skills both in and out of the classroom. We want our students to continue to learn, while enjoying and challenging themselves. The article mentions that time spent on the Internet, video games, cell phones, etc. should be limited, but it also notes that technology usage by gifted children can certainly facilitate their learning needs.
The article also references Hoagies’ Gifted, a webpage that provides resources and support for families with gifted children. We are glad to have Carolyn K, founder and director of Hoagies’ Gifted, on our Field Advisory Board and to have had her speak at a parent session of the Enrichment Center at The Grayson School on the topic of technology usage by gifted children. She cited software programs that combine the fun of games with strong learning opportunities including Inspiration and Kidspiration, which involve visual learning to strengthen different areas of thinking in varying subjects, and MacKichan, which focuses on developing mathematical skills.
We support the usage of games that help students learn while having fun. Our classrooms are intended to be places where students are engaged through the use of technology, while encouraging social interaction. Brian Housand, a member of the Grayson Research Advisory Board (GRAB), encourages us to use technology as a tool rather than the only resource at our student’s disposal in the classroom. We do not want students to be completely dependent on technology – it should be used in ways to aid their education. Our gifted students are encouraged to grow in all areas possible, and with the continuing growth of technology in our lives, it is important that our children continue to know how to use new technologies to facilitate their learning.