Why Use Technology in Education? Professor Tanya Byron

In the above video from Tanya Byron’s keynote speech at the 2011 FOSI conference, she explains her response to the government when faced with this question.  She speaks with such passion and conviction and I found myself nodding with excitement all the way through.

I think there are 2 key points to this argument.  Firstly that education needs to be made more relevant to children’s everyday experience. Children live in a multimedia world and are excited by it.  Bringing this multimedia world into their education will make learning more exciting and when learning is exciting we achieve better results.

My 7 year old often says school is boring and she hates writing.  She is one of the brightest children in her class, if she finds it boring imagine how the least able children feel. Which brings me to the second point.  Education in this country is about whether or not you are academic, if you are academic you are clever , otherwise you are not and pushed down a seemingly less important vocational route. This notion of what ‘clever’ is forms from the very beginning of school and unfortunately it is often boys who are not academic and would prefer to do something more active. Unsurprisingly the gap between boys and girls widens.

When children lack motivation they misbehave and eventually give up on school altogether ( as happened with my younger brother). Technology has so much promise as a way of engaging children and raising standards.  It is relevant to their lives and gives them skills for their future.  My own daughter’s teacher recognised that children of this generation will be unlikely to use pen and paper as a main source of writing in the future.  Yet there is still fear about doing something different and worries that they have insufficient equipment .

This is why we need inspirational leaders, with ideas, energy and enthusiasm to show teachers what can be done. If enough influential people share this message, perhaps one day we will be heard.

3 thoughts on “Why Use Technology in Education? Professor Tanya Byron”

  1. I could not do without technology.
    I use it;;
    for digital storage & retrival systems.
    for programing and creating curriculums.
    for documenting childrens milestones.
    to transmit important & time-critical documents, as snail-mail delays – cause huge problems
    a digital camera to record children experiences that cannot be captured with verbal-diahorrea.
    to caption photos on a PPT, with curriculum data that reflect Learning Outcomes.
    a software program to operate a business, complete tax requirements.
    to talk to people all over the world, via mobile phone.
    to see, family members via Skype – easy to determine if they are ill, injured, etc – visuals dont lie !
    to follow bloggers, who post fantastic educational material that is inspiring.
    to network with colleagues via facebook, eMails, linkedin, etc
    to find my way round – with a GPS.
    Most important; when someone dies, all you have left are the memories, the importance of all those silly photos & video become intensely important – its comforting.
    Most important; when children are in childcare – parents cannot see their daily activites & worry, so photos & videos of their engagement, is comforting as they can see the expression on their childs face. These records Create Long Lasting Memories that they can keep forever to share/show future generations.
    I began a technological journey with; two piece phone handset, a gestetner, Remington T’writer, and paper-tape-to-magnetic tape computerisation. I am excited about technology and where it will lead us in the future. I’m still willing to learn and will get an iPad next month so that I can conference call, etc.
    And I’m only a small fry, in a quiet suburb.


    1. thanks so much for taking the time to comment in such detail. I see a lot of negative comments about technology with young children from well respected early educators and it is comforting to feel that I am not alone in believing in it’s merits.
      it enhances learning and enhances life if we use it properly.


  2. Thank you for sharing. Mrs. Byron could have been talking about the Netherlands, so many simularities. We do need to bring the multimedia world into every day education, the kids and youth use technology no matter what so instead of stopping them using it we should guide them use it to enhance their achievements…. and let them learn us – the adults – how to use it. I have seen examples where a teacher invites students with a neurological background (PDD-NOS, autism a.o.) to create virtual reality, mobile learning or an app and then demonstrate it to the teachers. Whereas they where labelled ‘difficult’ beforehand they just blossomed and beamed with pride when showing how able and talented they are. Thumbs up.


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