Digital Devices

You are here

Toddlers Learn Best in No Screen Settings

Little ones can easily be mesmerized by digital screens. A cartoon character on TV  asking questions and pausing for a response can bring them to a complete halt. But science shows that children under the age of 30 months rarely learn from such encounters. A study of 176 toddlers aged 24 and 30 months gauged four different conditions under which children would best learn the name of a new object: directly from a person with the child, a responsive video chat, an unresponsive video, or an unresponsive live person. None of the toddlers learned under the video conditions, which Vanderbilt University researcher Georgene Troseth says is “because to toddlers, a flat image of a person on a screen isn't ‘real’, so their brains tell them what they are seeing isn't personally relevant and not something they can learn from.” This study is further proof that toddlers need face-to-face interactions with living breathing humans in order to learn new information.

Teacher Finds Students Focus Without Phones

Frustrated that smartphones were competing for students' attention in the classroom, Nevada Spanish teacher Debbie Simon started asking students to lock their phones in a magnetically sealed pouch before class began. Despite some initial backlash, Simon says in an interview in the The Epoch Times, after just a few days the students said that they felt more focused and engaged in lessons. This solution has been implemented by many schools and even concert venues. What will your school’s policy on cellphones be this coming school year?

Using Technology to Create Connections

Despite having more technology than ever, people are feeling increasingly disconnected, says Mandy Manning, 2018 National Teacher of the Year. Education Dive recapped the International Society for Technology in Education conference where Manning spoke recently. Manning remarked that an updated Gallup poll that found only 43% of U.S. students feel hopeful about their future, a 4% decrease from 2017, and 36% said they feel stuck. She also added that 23% reported feeling actively disengaged and 21% feel discouraged. Lack of hope leads to a lack of resilience, and when students are not resilient, they cannot learn or connect to one another, Manning added. She feels that parents and teachers should help students use technology to connect and develop compassion and empathy.

Teachers and Students Too Distracted by Mobile Devices

Ever hear of "Nomophobia" (the fear of being without a mobile phone) or Textaphrenia (the fear of being disconnected)? Many teachers believe that their students could be suffering from these and some were even honest enough in a recent survey to say that they have a touch of both as well.  The survey also reported that 80 percent of teachers say their students "multi-task" during instructional time, using their devices while they are supposed to be paying attention to a lesson. 61 percent believe that "multi-tasking" has affected students' ability to learn.

Research Shows Mixed Results on Using Technology in Lower Grades

Research on how technology affects student achievement continues to show mixed results. A recent report by the Reboot Foundation shows a negative connection between a nation’s performance on international assessments and 15-year-olds’ self-reported use of technology in school. The more students used technology in schools, the lower the nation ranked in educational achievement.

In the United States, the results were more complicated. For younger school children, the study found a negative tie between the use of tablets in school and fourth-grade reading scores. Fourth-grade students who reported using tablets in “all or almost all” classes scored 14 points lower on the reading portion of a test administered by the federal government than students who reported “never” using classroom tablets. That’s the equivalent of a year of education or an entire grade level. Meanwhile, some types of computer usage among older students could be beneficial. Eighth graders who reported using computers to conduct research for projects had higher reading test scores than those who didn’t use computers for research.

Of course, as has been true since the beginning of educational technology, the presence of technology in the classroom completely depends on how teachers are directing students to use it. It is important to make sure that technology is not being used as a substitute for books, worksheets, and other passive presentations of educational material. As the article points out, the study also wasn’t able to see what happened to student test scores before and after the introduction of technology and compare those with similar students who continued to toil with pencil and paper. 

Social Media Alerts Stress Young People

Keeping up with a constant stream of social media notifications on their phones is one of the main drivers of stress among students, reports The Associated Press. Some schools are taking steps to help reduce students' stress and anxiety, such as  engaging students in mindfulness activities, hiring outside firms to scan social media for signs that students might need additional support, and encouraging “unplugging” from devices. One teacher says he has seen a profound shift toward constant self-evaluation in the past 30 years that he’s been teaching, and he associates that with social media. He sees students constantly checking their Instagram, SnapChat, and even school grade portals – all outside forces students have never before had to manage.

How to Return a Lost Phone

Losing your smartphone can feel like losing an appendage, so when you find an unattended phone on the ground, it is natural you would want to do the right thing and return it. But in the age of personal identification numbers, facial recognition and fingerprint locks, it’s hard to just call the owner and give it back. Before you turn it over to the police and hope for the best, there are a few tricks you can use to return that phone. You can check the phone physically for contact information – sometimes people put it inside the case or even on the battery cover. You can also try to talk to the phone’s voice assistant like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, or Samsung’s Bixby even when the phone is locked. If all else fails, you should take it to the carrier or the police.

GPS Can Make Your Car an Easy Target for Hackers

According to Motherboard, hackers can use GPS trackers to gain access to a car with location tracking GPS services, and turn off its engine while it is in motion. An anonymous hacker, who operates in Asia and Africa, told that he was able to break into thousands of iTrack and ProTrack accounts using the initial default password given to customers. This is a reminder to change the password from the default one that comes with your car!  

Accessible Digital Books Campaign Expands

There are currently more than 711,000 books in Bookshare, a digital reading platform for people with reading barriers including dyslexia, blindness or cerebral palsy, and that number is growing every day. Working with more than 850 publishers across the world, the library adds as many as 100,000 titles every year, according to Brad Turner, vice president and general manager of global education and literacy at Benetech, the nonprofit that runs Bookshare. But with more than 1 million books published each year, it would be impossible for Benetech to keep up with conversions, so Benetech is now working directly with publishers such as Macmillan Learning to embed accessibility features into all e-books at the time of publication. These resources can useful to all readers, not just those with reading impairments or disabilities, and Benetech argues that having the publishers add them to the books as they are published makes good business sense.

Screen Time for 5 Year Olds Tied to Attention Deficit Issues

Five-year-olds that spend more than two hours a day in front of screens have 5.9 times and 7.7 times higher likelihoods of developing significant attention problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, respectively, compared with those who spent 30 minutes or less with digital devices, Canadian researchers recently reported. The findings were based on data involving 2,427 youths in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study. Parents of young children should keep this in mind as they monitor screen time.

Pages