SCREENS IN THE CLASSROOM

     If you have children in school, you know there are a lot of screens in schools. Many parents and educators have been calling for fewer screens and feel that the screens in classrooms make mobile platforms acceptable and educational because  Apple targets the very young to ensure buyers in the future.

     According to an article in TIME, Education technology is estimated to become a $60 billion industry by 2018.

With the advent of the Common Core in 2010, which nationalized curriculum and textbooks standards, the multi-billion-dollar textbook industry became very attractive for profits to be made. A tablet with educational software no longer needed state-by-state curricular customization. It could now be sold to the entire country.

     Investors went to other tech entrepreneurs in attempts to sell the notion that American students no longer had the attention span for traditional education. Videogame designers went on to build educational videogames. Their solution: Educate them in a more stimulating and “engaging” manner.

     Consequently, ADHD rates have indeed exploded by 50 percent over the past 10 years with the CDC indicating that rates continue to rise by five percent per year. Yet many researchers and neuroscientists believe that this ADHD epidemic is a direct result of children being hyper-stimulated. Using hyper-stimulating digital content to “engage” otherwise distracted students exacerbates the problem that it endeavors to solve. It creates a vicious and addictive ADHD cycle: The more a child is stimulated, the more that child needs to keep getting stimulated in order to hold their attention.

     In Finland, whose school system routinely ranks toward the top globally and has chosen to skip the tech and standardized testing. Instead, Finnish students are given as many as four outdoor free-play breaks per day, regardless of the weather—while here, a sedentary American child sitting in front of a glowing screen playing at school and home.

     A 2016 study at Michigan State University found a correlation between laptop usage in university classes and lower test scores.  Another study from  the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics found that after schools banned mobile phones, the test scores of students aged 16 improved by 6.4%. The reveal was that  “equivalent of adding five days to the school year”.

     The Los Angeles School District spent $1.3 billion on tablets for every one of their 640, 000 kindergarten through twelfth grade students; the project is now being investigated by the FBI and the SEC for improper bidding, and the district is asking for a refund from Apple and Pearson as the devices were easily hacked by students and the software woefully incomplete.

     In a 1996 interview for Wired magazine, Steve Jobs expressed a very clear anti-tech-in-the-classroom opinion: “I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody on the planet. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.”

     We have read that Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent. In 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love the just-released iPad, he replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” (New York Times September 10, 2014).

We also know that Many tech execs and engineers in Silicon Valley put their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools (The New York Times October 22, 2011).

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