The 2014 IGGY Junior Commission report on Education and the Internet is an important read. I’ve not had chance to digest all of it yet, but what I have read makes for some uncomfortable reading for Higher Education – take note: children understand the technology they have access to, the understand the possibilities (and challenge them), and know how they want to use it and bring it into all aspects of their lives, including learning / classroom / education.
“The IGGY Junior Commission enables ten of the brightest young minds to collaborate with one another to achieve a global goal. These young people are the potential leaders of the future and deserve an opportunity to share their views and recommendations.”
Research and interviews from 289 school children and 109 teachers from 14 different countries helped form the conclusions of the report which include:
- the internet, within the correct context, is a valuable educational tool and that specific skills are facilitated by access to the internet.
- concerns over plagiarism and originality limit the current impact of the internet for pupils’ learning.
- recommendations for both schools and educational organisations in order to identify how to better incorporate the internet into learning environments.
- focuses on coding and gamification, both of which are current trends in online education and therefore a focus on this illustrates the relevance and timelessness of our report to the ‘Education and the Internet’ debate.
- an internet connection was required by children and teachers in order to participate in the research, therefore excluding demographically deprived areas.
- participants in the research were already predisposed to ‘pro-technology’ than a totally random sample.
- the Internet has a “positive influence on pupils with learning difficulties and thus online learning platforms should be used more frequently with these pupils to aid development.”
- “online learning platforms should be widely and freely available to all pupils across the globe.”
- MOOCs and flipped classrooms allow for more flexible and personal learning opportunities.
- “online safety should be taught more rigorously and consistently across the curriculum.”
- teachers need to be more aware of their role as ‘digital ambassadors’ and will need “on-going training and support from the government and educational organisations”.
I’m sure much of this isn’t news to most of us already working in, or with, technology in educational settings, but it’s another valuable resource. Take from it what you need to highlight the need for more awareness, more training, more meetings (oh no), or more ‘something’ in order to provide a learning ‘environment’ which will enable and empower the next generation of learners and workers.