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Fw: A report discussing the use of electronic technology in education

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  • Clive Elwell
    I am forwarding this from another group Clive Subject: A report discussing the use of electronic technology in education Dear all, Last Sunday, in the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 28, 2008
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      I am forwarding this from another group
      Subject: A report discussing the use of electronic technology in education

      Dear all,

      Last Sunday, in the gathering post-lunch, I briefly mentioned a
      document called Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology,
      which was put together by an organisation called Alliance for
      Childhood based in the US.  Despite being rooted primarily in research
      across north America, and despite being several years old, this report
      seems remarkably relevant to our urban-Indian context (a couple of
      minor  allusions to "terrorists" and "rogue-nations" notwithstanding).
      Here is the link for those who are interested in downloading  (be
      warned that it is a large document, but I particularly recommend
      Chapters 2, 5 and 9).


      I also attach the Overview chapter and Chapter9 with this email, and
      give a few excerpts below - Prajval

      ...In the past, technology literacy was largely defined as skill in
      operating computers. That narrow
      approach was misguided from the start. But it is now dangerously outdated....

      ...Current approaches to technology education, mostly focussing on
      training children to use machines, are

      ...Research has clearly established that children under age 8
      "developmentally are unable to
      understand the intent of advertisements and, in fact, accept
      advertising claims as true."...Brain imaging
      studies indicate that regions that govern impulsivity and critical
      judgement do not fully mature
      and connect to each other until the late teens or even after.
      Adolescents may therefore be less
      able than adults to resist the psychological manipulation of modern
      marketing techniques...Companies
      now spend an estimated $15billion a year on marketing directly to
      chidlren aged 12 and younger...

      ...Children report fewer parental limits on their use of video games
      and online surfing than parents do....

      ..more than 1000 studies "point overwhelmingly to a causal connection
      between media violence
      and aggressive behaviour in some children."  Indeed, many studies
      suggest that watching television
      itself, regardless of the content, is associated with increased aggression....

      ...Declare one day a week an electronic entertainment-free
      zone....Families that have tested this idea report that
      even adolescents can be woven back into the fabric of family life when
      electronic distractions are

      ...A new approach to technology literacy...means re-emphasising
      relationships with people and with nature - and curtailing the barrage
      of commerical messages aimed at children.....and providing adult
      guidance...in gradually
      introducing children to the full range of technologies in
      developmentally appropriate ways...nurturing
      in children and in ourselves, a healthy new skepticism in evaluating
      potential technological change....

      ...It is only through truly imaginative thinking that our children
      will be able to devise solutions - both high- and low-tech-
      to the global crises they will face...

      ...a healthy relationship with technology grows out of the context of
      a healthy relationship with the world...

      ...The kind of critical thinking that we call for is by no means
      anti-science or anti-technology. On the
      contrary, we celebrate the awesome gift of our species' technological
      creativity as essential to our children's human inheritance. But we
      also wish to reclaim for them the rest of their technological
      inheritance: the long history of societies and cultures that
      honoured technology as a double-edged sword to be handled with care...

      ...We will argue in this report that  a true understanding of
      children's capacities, needs, and vulnerability will lead to a
      "slow knowledge" approach to technology education that, in the end,
      will be much more powerful and effective
      than has been the headlong rush to have third-graders produce
      PowerPoint presentations...

      ...To base a technology literacy programme on the developmental needs
      of children is to recognise
      that, in general, there should be a close match between the complexity
      of the tools the children use
      and their capacity to understand how those tools work. The
      consequences of adopting this
      approach are significant (and controversial)...

      ...One of the most thought-provoking issues to explore with students
      and adults is the question of
      just how neutral our technologies really are. Is a technology really
      "only a tool", able to be
      turned to good or harmful purposes depending on the skill and
      intention of the user? Or do the
      particular qualities of the technologies we create change us in ways
      we had not intended?...

      "I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the
      sounder they are at the core, and I think the
      same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children
      precocious, making great strides in their
      early years.....producing soft perishable timber,     but better if
      they expand slowly at first, as if
      contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected...."
      - Henry David Thoreau

      ...the fundamental need of children to have strong emotional bonds
      with people committed to their well-being is a
      principle of human development that applies "anytime up to the age of,
      say 99."...

      ...The younger the learner, the more the need for unmediated exchange
      and interaction between teacher and
      learner, between learner and learner, and between learner and content.
      Filling the child with a clutter of
      educational technologies is a wasteful exercise at best, and toxic to
      the growth and transformation of the
      learner at worst....

    • S P Mathew
      I must thank you for this nice document.... As it says... Children s lives are increasingly filled with screen time rather than real time with nature, caring
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 28, 2008
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        I must thank you for this nice document....

        As it says...

        Children's lives are increasingly filled with screen

        time rather than real time with nature, caring

        adults, the arts, and hands-on work and play. Yet

        only real relationships, not virtual ones, will inspire

        and prepare them to protect the Earth and all that

        lives on it.

        Thats one of the reasons why parents must take over their God given responsibility and guide their children in relationships... Life is all about relationships.




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