It seems like there have been more research articles, blog posts, and tweets lately related to technology and social media use in schools, as well as in the home environment. A few articles and studies examined the impact of “screen time” on the well-being and development of children. Studies and research still seem to be in infancy and may not always ask the essential questions. Sometimes a bias is evident.
I do think we need to be careful in our arguments to promote technology and social media use in schools and elsewhere. For example, I often hear the argument that because parents aren’t guiding their kids appropriately with online and social media experiences, that it should be taught and modelled in classrooms. I am certainly interested in supporting that. However, I am not always sure that enough conversations occur to get at the understanding of why parents may not be doing so, or cannot do so. Are there too many assumptions? And if we use that argument, should it hold true then that whenever we feel that parents aren’t teaching something appropriate at home it should be required to teach and model at school? In Ontario, I haven’t sensed consistent support regarding healthy eating even with a province-wide policy in place for schools. Some feel that the school cannot support this alone, or it should be left to the home. Where can partnerships intersect? And we know how conversations about sexual education can get difficult. Technology and social media use may not impact family values as food choices and sex education might, but it can — both directly and indirectly.
We may also feel that technology is key in transforming education and learning, and promoting critical thinking, inquiry, and curiosity. I agree. I also recognize that there are individuals who still continue to learn, create and demonstrate critical thinking without technology. If authentic, engaged learning and critical thinking are lacking, it is not just because of a lack of access to technology, is it? I feel like this is overlooked sometimes in the conversations.
Perhaps I am just overwhelmed by conversations, frustrations and blame cycles lately as I try to remain open-minded and supportive of solid pathways for technology in education, and for engaging parents.
As I have already mentioned to Royan Lee (@royanlee), I admire and appreciate his respectful approach to bringing parents into the conversation and context of how he uses technology in his classroom. He posted to his blog previously and recently about his efforts and thoughts in this area here.
Let’s keep the lines of conversations respectful, open, and going…