September 26, 2016 By Joseph P. Farrell

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:

British Teachers Call for Help Battling Tablet Addiction Among Preschoolers

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.

 Consider these common-sense observations, and compare them to what the advocates of Common Core are proposing, for they are proposing, in effect, to turn all students into computer-addicts by insisting on Common Core's individually adaptive standardized (i.e., computerised) "assessment " process. In other words, think of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), not being a thing to confront at the end of your public schooling in high school, but rather, as a process that follows (and incidentally, tracks) you from first grade up to and through college, every day, every week, every month. every year.
Now, take those emerging studies and observations that technology actually inhibits natural socialization through play with other children, interaction with parents (doing something as old fashioned as reading a physical book with their children at story time and turning actual physical pages), and magnify that to societal level, and you get the idea: if the billionaire busybodies have their way, we will be producing not only a very dumb population, but a population incapable of socialization, conversation, a narcissistic gaggle of psychopaths who would view any opposition to their ill-formed ideas and records as "sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes, racists, bigots," and so on. Think of a whole population of Hillary Clintons with her "basket of les Deplorables" busily deleting incriminating emails. Think of a whole population raised on conformity to corporation-and-government approved narratives, reinforced by their "individually adaptive standardized tests", and one gets the idea. Think of a whole population of Jeb Bushes, reacting in outrage and disbelief that anyone should dare question the standard narrative of 9/11. Think of "questions" like this on your child's computer screen at school:
Q: What caused the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11?
A: (select one):
     1) Burning airplane fuel
      2) melting steel columns
     3) Radical Muslim terrorists
     4) All of the above
Q: Who started World War One?
A: (select one):
     1) Kaiser Wilhelm II
      2) Germany
     3) Austria-Hungary
     4) Edward VII
What is being created, in other words, is a whole population of addicts, but it is important to understand that the end result of this addiction is not simply an addiction to technology, nor simply a population increasingly incapable of normal human socialization and argument (consider again only Dummycrook Hillary's les Deplorables comments, or Republithug Jeb Bush's reaction to being challenged on the 9/11 official narrative), but a population addicted to superficial, artificial narratives and easy, superficial "sound bites" masking as analysis and explanation. And this addiction inevitably impacts the political class itself; by dumbing everyone else down, they themselves end up with stupid advisors and resort to the time-honored fallacies of the ad hominem and fallacies of generalization. Did Kaiser Wilhelm II start World War One? Did Germany? did Austria-Hungary? Did Edward VII? Read deeply into history scholarship, and one discovers they are still arguing about it. But the billionaire busybodies, the Hillary Clintons, and Jeb Bushes of the world, have no time for deep analysis and argument or explanation, and neither do their standardized tests, especially the individually adaptive ones.
A few weeks ago I blogged about Finland's educational success. They have a simple system: (1) plenty of time for children to play, (2) a strict limitation on technology in the class room, (3) local parental control, (4) locking out the billionaire busibodies and politicians from the classroom, and of course (5) real physical books being used by real human teachers who are not merely proctors for an exam set by a corporation.
'Nuff said.
See you on the flip side...