Parents Need to Get Informed About Gadgets in Their Child's Classroom
Laptops, smart devices, and all forms of educational technology are making their way into the classroom. It's vital that parents educate themselves about this transition so they can ask the right kinds of questions.
Too often when we hear a phrase like, "Parents trying to hold the local school accountable," our minds assume that mom and dad are meddling in some way. Maybe they're trying to get a book banned or suing the school for something dumb. Maybe mom and dad are demanding answers as to why Little Johnny can't read even though they've never in their lives read Little Johnny a book.
You know — that sort of thing.
Despite instances of the above, it's important to remember that there are many contexts in which well-informed parents should serve as a robust system of checks-and-balances to make sure schools are making smart decisions and executing those decisions the right way. A perfect example, as illustrated by NPR's Anya Kamenetz, is the recent classroom influx of new forms of educational technology.
Educators and parents alike are finding it tricky to balance two important yet conflicting goals. First, to reduce kids' screen time. Kamenetz references an astounding statistic — that kids aged 8-18 spend about seven and a half hours per day looking at a screen taking in only recreational media. That's a concerning figure for many.
The second goal is to infuse education with technologies relevant to long-lasting success. Computer science, for example, is gaining in popularity as an elementary school subject. Many school districts are introducing initiatives that allow for smartphones and laptops to be used in class. The ostensible goal is for these tools to augment research efforts, their distracting tendencies notwithstanding.
So how can you ensure your kids get a strong technical education without overusing screen devices? That's a million-dollar questions right there. Another important thing for parents to think about is whether the school district's tech initiatives are in the best of interest of all parties with a stake in the game. Take for example Los Angeles Unified's canceled plan to purchase an iPad for every student in the district, an initiative built upon a $1.3 billion deal so greasy the FBI came in to investigate.
Kamenetz' piece is a basic user's manual for parents to understand the tools, ideas, and lingo behind edu-tech. Think of it as a study guide for mom and dad to understand how to have an intelligent conversation about classroom technology. The phrase "intelligent conversation" can't be stressed enough. The only thing potentially more dangerous than a shady, unchecked school initiative is a legion of uninformed parents spouting nonsensical arguments about topics they know nothing about.
For example, Kamenetz offers guidance for parents who hear their local school say something like, "We're raising money so we can put a tablet in the hands of every kid." To this, parents should ask questions like: "Where are you getting the curriculum?" and "How are you training teachers to use these devices effectively?" Parents should be able to ask whether this sort of curriculum has been successful in the past and how the school plans on evaluating the initiative once it begins.
Ask any teacher to list their top five least favorite things about the job and I guarantee a strong majority will mention lousy, uninformed parents. The corollary to that statement is that parents can also be a major asset to the education process given they put in the work necessary to be informed. It's like democracy — it only works when everyone with something at stake acts as such.
Take a look at the full piece (linked below) for more examples of edu-tech study guide material. Then I recommend watching the videos below featuring two Big Think experts offering cogent arguments on the topic of tech in the classroom.
Read more at NPR.
Photo credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Younger Americans support expanding the Supreme Court and serious political reforms, says new poll.
- Americans under 40 largely favor major political reforms, finds a new survey.
- The poll revealed that most would want to expand the Supreme Court, impose terms limits, and make it easier to vote.
- Millennials are more liberal and reform-centered than Generation Z.
A 2020 study published in the journal of Psychological Science explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- In 2019, researchers at Stanford Engineering analyzed the spread of fake news as if it were a strain of Ebola. They adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once to better understand how fake news spreads and gains traction.
- A new study published in 2020 explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- "These findings demonstrate one situation in which misinformation reminders can diminish the negative effects of fake-news exposure in the short term," researchers on the project explained.
Previous studies on misinformation have already paved the way to a better understanding<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1NzQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE2Mjg1Nn0.hs_xHktN1KXUDVoWpHIVBI2sMJy6aRK6tvBVFkqmYjk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C800%2C0%2C823&height=700" id="fc135" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246bb1920c0f40ccb15e123914de1ab1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fake news concept of misinformation and fake news in the media" />
How does misinformation spread?
Credit: Visual Generation on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is the "continued-influence" effect?</strong></p><p>A challenge in using corrections effectively is that repeating the misinformation can have negative consequences. Research on this effect (referred to as "continued-influence") has shown that information presented as factual that is later deemed false can still contaminate memory and reasoning. The persistence of the continued-influence effect has led researchers to generally recommend avoiding repeating misinformation. </p><p>"Repetition increases familiarity and believability of misinformation," <a href="https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/how-fake-news-spreads-real-virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the study explains</a>.</p><p><strong>What is the "familiarity-backfire" effect?</strong></p><p>Studies of this effect have shown that increasing misinformation familiarity through extra exposure to it leads to misattributions of fluency when the context of said information cannot be recalled. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797620952797#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2017 study</a> examined this effect in myth correction. Subjects rated beliefs in facts and myths of unclear veracity. Then, the facts were affirmed and myths corrected and subjects again made belief ratings. The results suggested a role for familiarity but the myth beliefs remained below pre-manipulation levels. </p>