The ubiquitous nature of technology now means that many of us are spending increasingly unhealthy amounts of time in front of screens. This is concerning enough for us adults – remembering that we are the ones with fully developed pre-frontal cortexes that give us enhanced abilities to manage our time, impulsivity and deferred gratification!
When it comes to our children, however, the situation is even more concerning and the stakes are even higher. The whole idea behind providing a child with a device that costs several hundred dollars, is that the learning outcomes should be significantly higher than when that child uses an exercise book that costs a dollar. This is one of the areas where I feel we have lost our way. Before technology, an adult might ask a child these questions:
What are you learning?
Why are you learning it?
How will you know when you have learnt it?
After the technology has been introduced, an extra question could be:
How is this device accelerating your learning?
Both teachers and parents can ask questions like this when addressing concerns about screentime and productivity. Teachers, in particular, can significantly lift student performance by simultaneously lowering screentime whilst raising expectations.