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Excitingly, this Friday, we have been invited by Natalia Kucirkova to an OU event : learning through personalisation. Open University in Camden Town is running a discussion workshop and Carrie will be joining a panel which includes Lost My Name and Nosy Crow to discuss the impact of learning through personalisation the digital process.

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Digital learning does raise lots of interesting questions. Is technology having a negative impact on children’s lives? Is it making them lonely, aggressive and unable to deal with ‘real’ life? Alternatively, is it offering them access to a wealth of knowledge and different, possibly better ways of learning? To what extent is it something that can be controlled and/ or guided by teachers and parents? Is it putting children at risk? These are all questions which I know that I, as a parent, have been fretting over ever since my children were able to bash a keyboard.

It’s certainly a balance. I’m not a teacher, but I have spent a lot of time reading with children, both as a volunteer at the local school, and with my own family. While I appreciate many of the concerns that the digital age raises, I think it definitely brings exciting opportunities. (I suppose as someone who develops digital stories I would say that!) I think for young children, personalisation is a great way to get them to engage with a particular learning process.

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We started Mr Glue Stories, personalisation of a story by means of adding a name, adding drawing, recordings and the ability to share and print a book, as a way of sparking an enthusiasm in learning to read. Children still have the capacity to be amazed and delighted when they see their own name appear in a story. Not just that, but the fact that they are doing something active, adding to the process of creating a story, is hugely exciting.  It’s the trigger which can draw them in.

I have seen two children, both 8 years old, both deemed to be ‘non-readers’, grab an iPad and get stuck in (without parental coercion) and remain stuck in, for a significant amount of time. They made great recordings of the story, were incredibly proud of what they had done and extremely keen to share that achievement with their parents.

It will be interesting to see how the discussion goes on Friday, and what conclusions are drawn. I think there may be a few places left, so if you are interested, do book a place!