Seven out of ten parents want their children to use technology before they start school, according to a new study of over 1000 parents from the countries’ largest edtech event, Bett.
A further 24% approved of giving children access to tech from the age of three in a ‘controlled environment’ at nursery, while 34% advocated the use of tech from the same age at home.
Just 9% of carers surveyed said they would like to wait until their kids reach Year 1 (age five to six), while 7% said they would prefer to wait until Year 2 (age six to seven).
The research also found:
- The quality of IT equipment and training (20%) was viewed as having more importance than the headteacher (16%) when selecting a school for their child.
- Teaching IT skills such as coding (18%) were cited as more important than developing artistic (15%) or music (14%) skills in school.
- Using technology and online data easily and safely was a leading priority for parents (22%).
- The second utmost priority for parents was for their kids to be taught how to manage their mental health and wellbeing – 40% cited this as a top priority.
The report reflects how technology use has become an intrinsic part of education, with the pandemic serving as a catalyst to the normalisation of virtual and digital learning.
“Technology in this day and age is as much part of everyday life as getting up in the morning and going to bed at night. This applies to all ages, including the very young,” said Dr Ger Graus OBE, a member of Bett’s Global Education Council and a visiting professor at the National Research University in Russia.
“That parents see this has to be both welcomed and greeted with some caution. We must make certain that the access applies to all and not just the few who can afford it. We must also ensure that we are talking about tech-for-good as opposed to merely good tech. And we must understand that tech does not and cannot replace the teacher, the parent, the friend or playing out in the rain – it adds value, often with awe and wonder”.
You might also like: Teachers see VR as having a key role in 2022 classrooms