Those who follow the science of early learning know that children's interactions, whether with their environment or with teachers and parents, are a critical foundation for their learning. So it may not come as a surprise to read an article I submitted this week to TIME magazine's online opinion section. But for those of us – I'm guilty too – who can become enraptured by new technologies and their potential for education, it might offer some food for thought. The piece is centered on research showing that some forms of electronic media can lead to lousy interactions for kids, both on the part of parents and the technology itself.
To me, the studies signal that parents, not to mention educators, need more models for how to use e-media well to promote deeper learning among children.
Here's how I started the TIME article:
A sizeable number of young kids will be getting e-readers this Christmas. Though not everyone is plunging in – The New York Times recently reported that some adults are eschewing them for their children even while they embrace them for themselves – the appeal to parents is strong, especially when marketers pitch the devices as on-ramps to literacy.
What today’s gift-givers may not know is that the devices can unintentionally cause parents to hamper their child’s learning. This phenomenon first turned up a few years ago in research at Temple University on e-books for preschool and elementary school children. Instead of talking with their children about the content of the books, parents ended up spouting “do this, don’t do that” directives about how to use the devices.
Read the full article
in TIME Ideas
, and feel free to comment on the TIME website or here. I'm interested in what you think. Am I overstating the case? Does the research tell us enough yet?