Using mobile devices around the home whilst eating, reading, watching TV, and doing homework is the new norm today. Technological multi-tasking being a common feature of most homes, will today’s generation be able to concentrate their best efforts on one thing only, such as their examinations? Children are plugged into games, news, chat groups, apps, music videos; anything that takes their interest. And herein lies the problem. What takes their interest doesn’t necessarily lead to a deep exploration of subjects they need to learn.
Oxford University asked 120,000 15-year-olds about how they felt about screen time, finding they perceived a sense of wellbeing which peaked at four hours and 17 minutes of usage per day. However, the study did not take into account how physical health might be affected, nor discuss effects such as sleeplessness, screen over-excitement, and brain shrinkage (found by a study in China).
Try Asking These Questions …
Are your children using spell-checkers when writing? Dictionaries when reading online or offline? Calculators when difficult sums arise? And is this linked to improved literacy and mathematical skills or not? How are their school test results?
Strong mental agility is a skill that come through practice. Getting good at a game and achieving higher levels springs to mind as an excellent example of how using a device equals greater skill. However, getting distracted by the addictive qualities of internet-based tech when they are, for example, supposed to be reading their Shakespeare text, is an example of multi-tasking gone a bit wrong. Microsoft offer a service where you can check your child’s activity online - especially apps (which are usually games). You can see how long they’re on!
How Does MagiKats Encourage the Development of Skills in Students?
Multi-tasking is a useful activity when you are busy, but sometimes you need to drill a skill to remember it.
At MagiKats maths and English tuition students are encouraged to write answers down and show working out. They can work out answers using tactile games to help, alongside having the serious discussions of concepts ‘on topic’. They are often tasked to imagine an answer before they ‘know’ it. This has a huge impact on a generation who can just ‘google it’.
The atmosphere of a small group session with their mentor is sociable, and there is absolutely no tech!
One of our mentors says: “This generation is multi-tasking a lot. I see that in the children I teach. One of the reasons I decided to work for MagiKats is their approach provides a counter to all that noise. It’s a place where students make great strides, very quickly, and become confident and independent learners - but also thinkers.”
Perhaps your child is an in-depth researcher, but can’t write down their answers with grammatical coherence. Maybe your child knows the answers, but can’t show the working out. Whether it is maths or English, MagiKats curriculum topics are written by education specialists who plan to stretch and challenge each student to ‘learn without limits’, and answer trickier questions.
True conceptual learning, and the critical thinking that goes with it, are embedded into our DNA at MagiKats. Our style of mentoring: small groups, individual learning programmes, exploration of thinking (as opposed to explanation with no thinking) produces students who learn to concentrate and focus on the enjoyment that comes with the ‘how’ of getting somewhere.
To reach the top, learning potential needs to be matched with material that extends. High fliers got there through practice and concentration. That joy that comes with figuring things out can be reached if you know how to do that.
from the team at MagiKats HQ
 Knapton, S; The Telegraph; 13 January, 2017; 257 minutes: the time teens can spend on computers each day before harming wellbeing