Ms. M.W. shared this article with me, and given all the fanfares in the news from billionaire busybodies and "testing corporations" about the wonders and benefits of (their) technologies in the classroom, and given our focus recently on educational issues (see yesterday's blog about the disturbing criteria being applied to "rank" the world's "top" universities), this one raises even more issues:
I want to concentrate on these few paragraphs from the end of this article:
It’s easy enough to argue what’s the harm, until you research the impact tablets have on preschool minds. While the study of toddlers and technology is still in its infancy (ha ha) the results are frightening, especially in terms of cognitive and social development:
In Britain, an escalation of problems associated with tablet use among pre-school children has been reported by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. These include developmental delays in attention span, motor skills and dexterity, speaking and socialisation — as well as an increase in aggressive and antisocial behaviour, obesity and tiredness. A growing number of young children are beginning school without enough dexterity to pick up and play with building blocks.One gathering of teachers in Manchester called for help with “tablet addiction”. A teacher in Northern Ireland described pupils who were allowed to play computer games excessively before bed arriving in class the next day with what you might call a “digital hangover”, and attention spans “so limited that they might as well not be there”.
Jo Heywood, headmistress of a private primary school in Ascot, Berkshire, has been outspoken about her observation that children are starting school at five and six years old with the communication skills of two and three-year-olds, presumably because their parents or carers have been “pacifying” them with iPads rather than talking to them. This is seen in children from all social backgrounds.
Good intentions can have damning consequences. What you thought was a guaranteed way to get your kid ahead of the educational curve might wind up being the reason he’s falling behind in school. The argument that you’re exposing your child to educational apps, as opposed to games or social media, doesn’t hold much water, either. According to WebMD a child’s brain isn’t even ready to begin learning foundational reading skills until the ages of 4-5. Yet, ABCMouse promises to teach the alphabet to your 2-year-old. It’s a promise that can’t be fulfilled, but it can be masked by a child’s screen addiction.