What is technology? According to the oxford dictionary it is ‘The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.’ Many schools and children use technology for educational purposes and it is integrated with many lives. I chose this topic because of its many controversial views and I wanted to find out if my usage of technology for educational purposes has an impact on my daily life tis curiosity led me to want to know more on this topic.
As you can see in the picture above that 98% of parents believe that their children use digital technology for schoolwork.My question has the link between technology and the child’s way of learning to get good grades. So first let us look at how the child learns. A child learns learns by memorizing, observing, understanding and learning a sense of responsibility of him/herself. Usually learning involves the active involvement of the learner, which is called ‘active learning’, thus, gradually the cerebellum of the brain develops and will be able to store more information. Since past 8 years new discoveries about technology affecting the learning capabilities of the child have been recorded in many sites. I have travelled to interview educators to be able to identify causes, consequences and issues. Now let us look at the causes of children using technology to be able to learn. Recently it has been told that ‘active learning is very effective for children’ stated by the, world economic forum organisation.
Children find it easier to revise by using technology so they suggest it to many friends spreading the use of technology Many universities offer online courses, so students may not need to come to college but learn in front of their screens at home giving them lots of relaxation times and they can revise lessons many times. In schools using technology makes it easier for teachers to teach as they can easily collect data and provide information to children through videos. Thus, gradually students adapt this tradition at their homes.
Now that we have looked at the causes, we shall now see the consequences of using technology on a child when learning, both advantageous and disadvantageous. Most information I have gained From my interviews with educators mrs.Savitha and mrs.Rohini gave me a great insight on the consequences of learning through technology. After the consequences we shall look at what educationalists say about educational technology on many children.
It is proved by the US National Library of medicine that it can cause the person to be deprived of sleep due to blue light exposure and how our brain reacts to it. It can also cause depression, anxiety and attention problems Technology helps to engage the child in learning. While collecting information the child may be distracted and his/her focus may shift. Social media influences many children on education technology usage. Over-usage can cause the child to gain weight as there is no physical activity and become obese. We will see how this affects learning.
I have done 2 interviews with educationalists Savita, who runs the school ‘Pramiti’ and specialises in teaching to young children below 10 years old, and, Rohini who is a lecturer at loyola college, Chennai. I gained different perspectives about what educational technology does to children. Let us look at what they have to say.
Mrs.Savitha thinks that technology should be integrated with children at a specific age, as young people may not have a control over their usage resulting in some of the consequences as shown above. Also she thinks that technology hinders the creativity of the child. To prove this by giving an example in which I intend to think about, she says:”At a PTM, a child was getting frustrated, so the parent gave a ipad asking him to draw objects”. She thinks this did not involve any creativity as the child only picked colours that he was able to comprehend and did not try to mix the colours, to try getting different colours by using his creativity.
She also explains to me that she thinks that when a child uses devices to gather information there can be many distractions, causing the child to unwillingly dragged into the many worlds of digital media. She does not suggest to use digital devices for kids as they may be dragged away from ‘reality’. Mrs.Savitha also thinks that digital media provides too much information for the child to comprehend and that distractions are the main issue when using technology. She says that parents should look supervise their child when they use digital devices.
On the other hand Mrs.Rohini thinks that digital media is very useful for the child and implies that it is easier for teachers to teach and children to revise. But she still says that the drawback is distractions, as she has seen that many of her students go to unwanted sites during class and that she needs to constantly supervise them. Now let us look into the 2 main issues, perspectives and possible courses of action to take.
The issue is obesity. Although it may not sound related it actually impacts on the performance and cognitive functions of the child/adolescent. Research I picked up from the John Carroll University, shows that the overuse of digital technology results in the decrease in physical activity, in which the further consequence is gaining of weight. Gradually the increase in weight causes obesity in the period of 1-2 years.
Obesity causes metabolic syndrome(METs), it is a disease that increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is related to the cognitive impairments in adults. Researchers tested adolescents with METs and without METs for the following criteria:
Adolescents with METs scored lower than the non-METs adolescents, in all the criteria.
Obesity affects the child’s intellectual thinking and thus affects their academic performances.
Schools should engage students in physical activities or recreation.
Manage their diet.
Monitor their time using digital devices and have a strict time limit.
Distraction is the second issue. Based on my findings from sources, when using technology to learn it is proven by Dominguez Hills, Professor Rosen of California State University that a high school student (14 – 17 years) can only study for 3 minutes at a stretch without using any device. They need to communicate socially using social media or they need to update their status. Also in my interviews I got a confirmation that distraction is a major drawback when using technology. The most likely consequence of this issue is further distraction when there is a response and this affects their learning, further resulting in low marks.
Strict adult supervision on child’s usage of technology to prevent the child from being distracted.
Parental controls to be applied, so parent can control what the child sees.
Teach the child of being digitally responsible.
Now that we have looked at the issues and course of action related to a child’s academic performance the consequences of both are low marks, so let us look at the perspectives of this. These perspectives are only if the school is completely integrated with technology.
The amount of productivity in that period of time will decrease resulting in late submission of projects causing low internal marks.
In long term, the skill level of the of the student will be low, resulting in low skilled level jobs and and increasing poverty.
The more the school uses technology the higher risk of getting low marks.
If many students get low grades, the school may lose its reputation, students will then leave the school resulting in the closure of the school.
Before I conclude this report, I will take a look into the advantages of the use of technology when learning.
Initiates the thought of independent learning in students.
Encourages collaboration in students, leading to a better way of understanding concept.
I will now conclude my report based on all the information I have found to answer the main question: Does the use of digital technology have a negative impact, on children’s academic performance and way off learning?
I conclude this report by saying that the over-use of digital technology has a negative impact on the child’s way of learning and having a further consequence on their academics, in terms of all of the perspectives. There are many ways to resolve these issues provided that organisations and schools come hand in hand and collaborate decreasing the risk of low academic performances. I think that avoiding distractions when using digital devices requires a lot of will-power to overcome this unseen force and also parents need to supervise their children carefully to prevent negative consequences.
My personal perspective uses all of the information and courses of action I have gathered. But i think in today’s world and generation, it will be tough for people to execute the resolutions precisely without any disturbance from digital devices, as i have seen how much people use it in front of my eyes, from friends to relatives. I hope that we can adapt and change our habits of using digital technology to make a better future for our future generations.
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