July 16, 2015
Schools Must Foster Conversations About Students & Digital Devices – From Patrick Larkin
This post originally appeared on Reinventing K-12 Learning, Patrick’s Education Week blog.With most school leaders looking to add more web-enabled devices to their schools and classrooms, they are all but certain to get questions from parents within these communities who will raise concerns about the fact that their students will be dealing with more screen time in their day. While some may be quick to respond that we are just setting up environments for students that will replicate the the realities of the gadget-driven workplaces that our students will soon be inhabiting, I think it is important that we take some time and have community-wide discussions about the topic of screen time. These conversations can help reduce anxiety for parents who see their children inhabiting classrooms that have technological resources that are quite different than what they experienced. Increased conversations will help parents put into perspective alarming headlines that come out regarding the negative consequences of using electronics. Sometimes the most important takeaways from these headlines can be found well down the page, a place many do not see. One such headline appeared this past week in a New York Times article by Jane E. Brody titled Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children. While I am sure the headline is accurate in regards to the state of children and their time spent on devices, a passing glance at the story and the first three paragraphs of the article only gives enough information to scare people away from device use. Therefore in my third paragraph, I will introduce my two biggest takeaways and bullet them below:
- This is not a new problem, “television remains the dominant medium.”
- According to a Kaiser Foundation study “Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents.”
- Is it Appropriate?
- Is it Meaningful?
- Is it Empowering?