How is edtech supporting child development at home during COVID-19?

Chris Reid, CEO of Connect Childcare, explores the role edtech plays in bridging the gap between education practitioner and parent

The current climate presents challenges for everyone across the education spectrum – including teachers, parents and children themselves. One of the main obstacles facing parents today is keeping their children motivated and child development. This is where tech has a huge part to play.

Whether it’s in an early years, primary, secondary or further education setting, in normal circumstances, parents tend to have more of a peripheral involvement in their child’s daily learning. Childcare and teaching staff are usually the only ones who are fully aware of how each pupil has been developing and progressing, tailoring content to their strengths and weaknesses.

And given the big challenge parents have been presented with during the current climate – which sees them manning the home-schooling activities – it’s vital that there is an effective communication bridge between the two parties to bring parents up to speed on their youngster’s current level.

On top of this, digital methods connect practitioners to parents and their children’s progress, helping them feel supported and closing the feedback loop. This keeps students’ development on track, even with the limitations of lockdown.

Child development – extending education outside the classroom

Irrespective of the virus, there has been lots in the pipeline from a government perspective regarding extending learning at home.
Channelling the resources families are most familiar and comfortable with is the most effective means to foster child development in the home setting, because it feels less daunting and more achievable.

Whether it’s a school-wide platform to deliver online lessons or an app-based education resources library, the foundation is the same. Parents need to feel buoyant with resources and teaching aids to help them home-school effectively, and educators require contact with guardians to keep abreast of pupils’ progress so they are able to plan successfully when the education timetable restores some normality.

Improving parental engagement

Truly successful edtech solutions should not alienate the traditional learning environment, instead they must disrupt and enhance it – while giving parents an active role to play in the process.

Taking the nursery sector as an example, infants may display different reactions or characteristics with their parents than they do with nursery staff. So, it’s vital to capture all their reactions to gain a full picture of how they learn best.

Observation is a core component in determining where infants are on their journey. And if edtech can give parents inspiration and the ability to upload key moments in their child’s day-to-day life, this keeps the learning cycle running smoothly and transparently for practitioners.

But technology can only do so much. While there is lots of talk about digital transformation and edtech leading the way to a more digitised way of working, face-to-face contact is still massively important.

Teachers need the ability to communicate easily and parents also need to feel a sense of united camaraderie during these unprecedented times, because one without the other may drastically impact childhood development.

Disruption dictates change

In truth, the reason there is such an upsurge in edtech usage at the moment is because there is no other way of delivering the content to pupils. But it’s this ‘forcing of the hand’ which has seemingly erupted a welcomed shift in mindset across the sector.

Ultimately, the learning and development of children is at the heart of the education industry. So, while technology offers a way to stay connected in these disconnected times, it should also be seen as a solution that is way beyond the realms of COVID-19 – offering teachers, children and parents a permanent means of delivering a cohesive learning experience.

You might also like: Education Development Trust pens recommendations to “prevent a lost learning generation” in light of COVID-19


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