The good intentions are there: Protect kids from cyberbullying, addictive video games, and uncensored access to the Internet. But at what cost?
According to Dr. Michael Levine, Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at the Sesame Workshop, which conducts studies on the role of digital technologies in childhood literacy, the public dialogue about technology and education has focused too much on it dangers, and not enough on its vast potential.
“There’s a moat between what kids do outside and inside of school,” Levine said in a recent interview. “When it comes to children, the general framing of technology has been largely about safety and protection.”
That’s been one impediment to leveraging the power of technology. The second factor has been an inconsistent record of higher achievement. “So far there’s been lots of hype and bluster about how education technology will transform teaching, but so far that’s unfulfilled,” he said.
Though much more research is needed in this realm, a recently released study called “Is there an App for That” by the Cooney Center does show that mobile apps help kids learn. I’ll follow up on the report again soon, but in the meantime.
Here’s more from our recent conversation:
What will it take to fulfill the potential now that we have all these new tools?
Much more ubiquity. Now that we have new tools, there’s new demand from kids themselves, so we need much broader ubiquity in terms of adopting those tools for kids of all racial, ethnic, and income backgrounds.
How can we move in that direction?
It’s starting. I feel that some of the innovators are beginning to break through these discussions. Now the question is, how are we going to build supportive policy, as well as the capacity to help educators, who may be less adept at technology and keeping up with the momentum, and to integrate it into the classroom. Continue reading