Each iPad came with this background screen:
Childhood should not be hurried, children should be respected as individuals, and children should be relieved from as much stress as possible. Technology used with younger children works against all these premises, the report argues, and concludes with a variety of recommendations including:
- Refocusing education for younger students on play, the arts, and hands-on activities such as crafts,
- Conducting studies to determine the possible health hazards to children resulting from the use of technology,
- Halting the commercial “hyping” of technology for children,
- Emphasizing ethics, responsibility and critical thinking in older students when using technology, and
- Implementing an immediate moratorium on the further introduction of computers into early childhood and elementary education. Alliance for Childhood’s Fool’s Gold report (a response), School Library Journal December 2000
The question really is not whether we should use technology with small children, but how do we do it wisely? Wise use will only come when there are a sufficient number of technologically literate preschool teachers who are not replaced, but supplemented, by effective technologies. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that our children can have both laps and laptops when appropriate and when needed? Virtual Realities: Technology for Tots Minnesota School Board Association Journal, Early Spring, 1998
So it was with great interest when I read this post by Larry Cuban: Looking at Children Use of Technologies at Home and School and thought this was interesting:
Keep in mind that there are social class differences in how parents and significant adults allow their children to use of screen devices. A number of studies have found, for example, that:
- African-American and Latino children ages 0 to 8 spend more time with screen media, including television, video games, and computers than their white peers.
- Rates of bedroom television are more than twice as high among African-American (69%) and Hispanic (66%) children than for white children in the same age group (28%).
- Children from low-income families (less than $30,000 annually) spend more time with television and videos and have bedroom television rates more than three times higher than children from middle- and upper-income families.
If we find means of securing devices - iPads, Chromebooks, etc - are we simply increasing the chances that our students will be spending even more "screen time" at home rather interacting directly with other human beings?
Or will we be offering these kids a chance to do more positive things with the "screens" than watch television and play video games? Are reading e-books, playing math games, or interacting with peers and the teacher in learning networks an alternative to mindless entertainment?
Laps or laptops? I like them both for kids, but can we achieve - and help parents achieve - a balance for all our students?