Louise Robinson, the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association, says that smartphones and tablets are about to take over from reading books, partly because children will be able to access information more easily in their spare time.
She’s certainly right in principal, but then she says children would have to be taught how to access information properly online. “You and I wouldn’t send a child into a library and say ‘Go and have a look.’ You’d show them where the information is to access and which bits they should be looking at for their age and stage.’
The problem I have with that statement is that ‘Go in the library and have a look’ is precisely what my teachers told me, so that we were allowed some leeway for development at our own pace within the curriculum.
There’s also a danger that anything on the printed page will be regarded with the horror the young have of the old or old-fashioned. There’s nothing as conservative as a young mind, and books could easily end up relegated to Oxfam shops and old folks’ homes.
Having now adopted an eReader again (my second), I’ve yet to put a regular book down to read it – why? Because I keep stumbling across so many good books, and you can’t ‘accidentally’ find something on a Kindle.