On Tuesday 4 February 2020 Ofcom released a report looking at the media use and attitudes of children and parents in 2019. Based on interviews with more than 3200 parents and children the report looked at a variety of media based questions including the age young people receive their own smartphone or tablet, what percentage of different age groups have social media profiles as well as concerns that parents and young people might have about internet use.
As a result of our innovative use of technology to support and enhance student learning, Heathfield Community College was approached by ITN news to appear in a feature on the report in their national broadcast.
A group of 7 digital leaders answered questions from ITV’s consumer editor Chris Choi about their reaction to the new statistics. They were able to give a very balanced opinion that showed they understood the risks and concerns of parents but also felt that the benefits of being online and using technology outweigh the negatives. During the questioning they were able to draw on their own experiences at the College of how we manage the use of technology and promote sensible and safe use of online services.
As an Apple Distinguished School the College supports staff and students to use technology when it enhances the learning experience. We know how transformational EdTech can be for learning and outcomes but we are clear to equally encourage social interaction between students away from devices and offer a range of activities to promote good health and well-being; exactly as the advice for parents suggests.
The ITV news team were very impressed with the mature and informed responses to the questions posed by the reporter. This clearly showed that the students have a deep understanding of both the benefits of technology and how they might mitigate the potential risks of using devices and the internet.
They were a credit to themselves and the College and should be very proud of the whole experience. The producer of the piece contacted the College to say “thank you very much – to you and all the students – for giving up your time and speaking to us today. They were brilliant” and Chris Choi, the presenter, commented on how eloquent and informed they were; he was clear their knowledge, presenting and reporting skills were impressive, such that he joked he would be nervous of his role in the future.
Joseph Goodsell, one of the participating students said “The Ofcom report and the ITV news feature on it allowed us to express our viewpoint on the use of technology and how it enables us to learn independently while being aware of staying safe online. It was a valuable opportunity to present a core part of our learning to the rest of the country.”
Recordings of the broadcast are now available on YouTube.