There are divergent schools of thought as to the benefits of computers, and the internet in particular, to children. At one end, there are the technophiles, keen to create a world of internet savvy toddlers. At the other there is a school such as St James Junior in Olympia. Here, while you will find white boards and teachers with laptops, you will not see children at their desks working on computers nor do they have ICT lessons. It is only once Year 6 is reached and the children ‘have developed skills of conversation and discernment’, that the ICT curriculum starts to unfold.
“A computer doesn’t react to facial expressions, to tone or intonation of speech; it doesn’t refine a child’s power of attention or ability to concentrate. It absorbs it,” says Headmistress Mrs Thomlinson, “Young children learn best through speech, through conversation, through conscious contact not instant gratification and the impersonal response of a computer screen. The computer is a brilliant and sophisticated resource. However, for young children, engagement with the real world is far more important.”