Surely you have experienced the following situation: you are in a bar and a little boy starts to cry for…
Surely you have experienced the following situation: you are in a bar and a little boy starts to cry for any random reason – as it happens to be normal in a child, after all -. Parents, overwhelmed because they do not know what to do to get the child to shut up, they put the smartphone in front with a chapter of Peppa Pig . The child is silent, the parents calm down and, in the end, when the chapter ends, the boy, so quiet, picks up the phone and puts the next chapter. So, you discover that the little one handles technology as if he had been using it all his life , and that, which might seem good, is not so good.
The technology is good to the extent that it is used correctly . However, an abuse of this can cause serious consequences, and this tendency to “put the iPad to the child to shut up” was not going to be less. So much so that teachers are complaining because the kids do not know how to use a book . And when I say they do not know how to use a book, they do not know how to turn the pages. And what do they do then? Swipe with your finger, as if it were a tablet.
The professors members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) , a union of British teachers, claim that “Children are so hooked on iPads and smartphones that they slide their fingers when they are given books to read” . This is due, according to the teachers, to the students are not familiar with the physical books , which leads them to think, due to the similarity of the format (after all, an iPad is the size of a book -more or less-), which they must swipe the page to proceed to the next . The most disturbing thing is that they are discovering this ‘poor development’ in day care centers, that is, in the first years of early childhood education.
The reason, according to the NUT, is that parents are starting to give tablets and smartphones to children from very young , instead of books and children’s stories. That, in the words of Jennifer Bhambri-Lyte, union member , “It may be robbing families of valuable time together” . “Sharing a book brings parents and children together at precious moments […]. I have taught in both day care and primary education, and it is disturbing to see a child use a book and try to slide his finger to the left ” , he continues.
On the other hand, Bahmbri-Lyte recognize that, while it is true that many colleagues have “Happy memories of your childhood” as “Cuddle with your parents to read a book” , a lot of families they do not buy books because they simply can not . “In a world of food banks, books are a luxury that many families can not afford” , concludes.
This debate, which took place at the annual conference of the NUT in Brighton, comes before the growing concern about the illiteracy of children , who prefer social networks, smartphones and tablets to the books of a lifetime. So much so that the abuse of social networks is causing a degeneration of spelling and grammar . An example that Eleanor Harding, Correspondent of Education of the Daily Mail , is that children write ‘l8’ instead of ‘late’ -tarde, in English. In Spanish, it would be the same as putting ‘A2’ instead of ‘goodbye’.
The data shown by the NUT contrast the Recent studies on memorization and retention of information . While organizations and governments sell ICTs as the panacea for education, the data show that studying from a tablet does not offer the same results . A study carried out by Patricia A. Alexander (Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland) and Lauren M. Singer (Candidate to Doctor in Educational Psychology, University of Maryland) published in 2017 shows that, although students prefer to read in digital format and believe that this improves your results, The reality is that this only makes your performance worse.
The study shows that the understanding of topics, both specific and general, is best when using physical format / paper . However, it is true that students read faster in digital format, but who says that faster reading improves comprehension?
To this is added another problem, and that is teachers do not know how to use ICT . In 2012, and according to the latest data available, the CECE (Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers) published that 40% of teachers did not use ICT . Of the remaining 60% that did use them, 35% said they would be willing to use them, but they do not dare. 45.4% of the latter say that it is due to lack of training, and 31.5% due to insecurity . Even so, Spain is at the forefront of Europe in the use of ICTs. Something fails.
So, we have some parents who encourage the misuse of technology and teachers who do not know how to use ICT . These are two explosive ingredients that, after all, make up a time bomb that can destroy the education of adults and professionals of tomorrow. But better that the child be quiet while watching Peppa Pig or The Patrol Dog and let us eat quietly, right?
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