Here’s a very interesting article that shares details of a recent piece of research related to screen time/ face to face interaction time impacts for children, as well as bringing together a pretty good summary of some of the other relevant research conclusions.
Whilst it’s too early to draw hard and fast conclusions on the matter, common sense and most of the research appears to be pointing in the direction of suggesting that a lot of what’s happening today with rampant unchecked and unmoderated control of ‘screen time’ is to the detriment of children and the development of healthy, positive interpersonal relationships. Within schools and other learning spaces, we need to acknowledge that children will not always be the best at making choices about what’s appropriate or right. We also need to understand that the technology cannot be treated simply as a teacher substitute or an easy way to keep children occupied and distracted.
Each time a teacher uses any kind of media, it needs to have clearly thought out justification and there needs to be a continual weighing and balancing against alternatives. I also believe that teachers need to be ready to integrate meaningful and purposeful group, pair and team based activities that have learning goals both related to the learning content and the process by which the collaborative learning takes place. I also believe we should see teachers making more use of rubrics for group work that highlight and explore children’s perspectives and understanding (and reflection) on how best they work together for maximum effect.
This is an area where i look forward to seeing more research and engaging with fellow educators as we explore the ways to effectively harness the undoubted powers and benefits of ICT in education whilst reducing the costs in interpersonal skills development.
In the meantime, families need to be continually thinking about how ‘screen time’ plays a part in their home life and all its implications.