Parental guidance: overcoming the fear of technology

There has never been a greater gulf between the learning environments of today’s students and that of their parents. By comparison to the 20th century student, those starting their GCSE journeys in 2017 have an endless array of digital tools at their disposal. So, how can parents navigate this complex and confusing world with their children?

Parental Engagement

Once upon a time, learners leafed through hefty textbooks to find information on a particular topic or theme; today, a quick “Google” can be enough to teach a student all they need to know on a given subject. Those studying in the 80s and 90s may have had their audio-visual fix courtesy of a grainy VHS video, lovingly recorded at home by an enthusiastic teacher; the students of 2017 may be more familiar with a video plucked from YouTube in seconds.

While such advancements in technology are almost universally considered to be a good thing, the wealth of digital tools, platforms and devices available to students – both in school and outside of it – can leave some parents feeling out of touch. Parents may even be fearful that their naivety leaves them unable to support their children properly through an important period in their education.

The arguments

Technology is a destructive force

There’s a popular narrative that TV rots brains, video games are evil and that too much of youngsters’ lives are wasted on social media. For the modern parent, that perception can be enough to attach a stigma to the use of tablets, smartphones and even desktop computers.

Students will fall behind without technology

A simple discussion about the latest, greatest educational app in the playground can be enough to leave a parent feeling guilty that they aren’t doing enough to support their child. Parents are often subject to a fear of missing out (that’s FOMO in young person’s language) on behalf of their children.

In response to this dilemma, parents may be tempted to throw money and resources at providing their child with any number of digital tools – often without a clear understanding of whether the content is accredited, in line with curriculum or even factually correct.

Finding balance

So, what is the solution? How can parents avoid feeling out of touch with technology and unsure how to best support their children?

Of course, the answer lies in finding balance. As an edtech company, we passionately believe in the benefits of creating dedicated GCSE learning tools that can be used across the entire spectrum of digital devices. Yet we wouldn’t be meeting our responsibility to students, parents or teachers if we didn’t also acknowledge the need for a varied approach to learning.

No two students learn in exactly the same way, and where one will prefer to do all their studying on a device another will benefit most from classroom discussion or working with pen and paper. But what is most important is that those digital learning tools students do use can be trusted by parents and relied upon to support progress.

At GCSEPod we create quality educational content for students by delivering a cost-effective subscription service to schools. By working in this way parents can be confident that their children are able to access online learning resources that are not only approved by the school, but also in line with the curriculum and exam-board specific.

Through the GCSEPod platform, parents are also able to follow their child’s progress and support their learning experience in a simple, intuitive and transparent environment. And because our short-burst Pods can be watched anywhere and at any time, many parents enjoy watching them with their children so that they can share the learning experience.

We have even developed a number of resources to help parents support students more effectively. Check them out here.

Staying safe online

Staying safe online is understandably a key priority for parents. When your child logs into their GCSEPod account they are entering a safe and closed environment away from the well-documented dangers of the Internet. Progress can even be tracked to ensure that time spent in front of a device is time spent learning and not carrying out other online activities. This provides valuable peace of mind for parents.

With more than a thousand subscribing schools already, GCSEPod is among the UK’s leading GCSE revision resources and online study tools. Find out more about the benefits of GCSEPod from students, teachers and parents here.

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“100% of our year 11 students achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C.

82% achieved at least 5 GCSEs including Maths, English and/or Welsh at grades A*-C. An impressive 27% of grades were at A* or A compared to the national average of 19.4%.

We strongly believe that GCSEPod has played an important role in improving the outcomes for some of our pupils. Indeed, some of our top users exceeded their target grades in many areas and have now returned to the sixth form to continue their studies at A level.”

Diane Evans - Assistant Head Teacher,
Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteif

There is a very clear correlation between the subjects with the most pronounced raises in attainment (English Literature, Chemistry, Biology and Physics) and those that had the highest GCSEPod usage.

In addition, the student with the highest GCSEPod usage was also our highest achiever.

Because there has so clearly been an impact on the departments that utilised GCSEPod effectively, we will be looking to increase the use of GCSEPod across the school in coming years.”

Andrew Ost - Deputy Head,
Fort Pitt Grammar School

“We’ve used GCSEPod for a year and the results speak for themselves!

Not only did we see a rise in headline measures across the board with our highest user of GCSEPod gaining 7A* – but the students and their parents love it!

It’s fun, user friendly, and easy to use in a variety of ways – on a mobile device, in school, at the heart of our mentoring and intervention strategies, for flipping learning, and to deliver positive engagement that parents can see. Plus we’ve only just scratched the surface!”

Dominic Howkins - Vice Principal,
Ormiston Sudbury Academy

Awards

Don’t just take our word for it. GCSEPod has gained huge recognition since our initial launch in 2010 and we continue to pick up industry awards along the way. We’re constantly listening to the schools that use GCSEPod and learning how we can best support teachers and students in times of change. Contact us to tell us your goals for the next year and discuss how we can be a part of your school improvement strategy.

Click here to find out more about our awards