Monday, April 18, 2016
1st Grade: Miniature zombies drool over screens, headphones blocking out everything but their virtual world.
Miniature zombies drool over screens, headphones blocking out everything but their virtual world. This isn’t some horror scene; it’s a first grade class at Carroll Manor Elementary, where I intern. Rather than the student-teacher contact experience I’d expected, I’ve learned to babysit technology-addicted beasts. Because of my involvement in the new tech-based classroom sweeping through the county, I’ve developed a loathing for the system.
I’d approximate that 60 percent of class time is spent on laptops installed at the start of the year. Most of this overwhelming proportion is devoted to Dreambox, a Common Core aligned mathematical adapting program which individualizes the learning experience and allows teachers to monitor their students’ progress. It resembles a game so students are “excited to learn,” but the data from my students shows they’re becoming more distracted and, as a result, taking longer to learn.
Not only does increased screen time cause an extreme lack of focus, it also inhibits social intelligence. A UCLA study found that fifth graders who went without screen time for one week were significantly better at reading human emotions than those who had regular access to screens. In elementary school, developing social learning skills is key to growing a successful student. When screen time increases, face-to-face time decreases...