Wow, do I ever have a lot to say about teaching in the digital age. Most of what I have to say is concerns. I think technology is a wonderful thing and can enhance our lives for the better in so many ways, but I also think society does not recognize the detrimental effect it can have. As well, I’d like to note, that I am writing this before reading any of Alec’s articles, I thought I would write first, then read and add or write a new post depending on how I feel afterwards.
One of my concerns about teaching in the digital age is health related. I think we as a society spend way too much time staring at screens. There have been so many studies showing the negative affects of hours of screen time, the main one that bothers me is overstimulation. With other Masters work, I have done reading and ironically viewing on how children cannot often even process everything coming at them from screens as there are too many images, everything on the screen is moving too fast. This overstimulation then translates to behaviour afterwards: lack of self-control, distractedness, sleep disruption. Much of the screen time students have is at home, so we are feeling these effects in the classroom. As well, we are often pressured to incorporate more and more technology in the classroom.
Another concern I have with teaching in the digital age is what I find, the lack of wonder and fascination all this technology has created. I have noticed in my classroom that it takes a lot for students to be fascinated by the simple things in life. I have done little tests and it always takes them a few weeks, sometimes a couple of months to be interested or wowed by the activities I plan in my class. An example of this would be practicing their sight words with manipulatives instead of a tablet game that has flashing pictures, sounds and bright colours. I think in many ways we are all prone to needing fancy things to grab our attention or impress us and, in many cases, those fancy things are so neat but there are also so many interesting things just outside our front door or on our bookshelves.
This is a video passed along to me by Dr. Patrick Lewis from one of the Early Childhood classes I took with him.