Maybe the schools are the problem

From the BBC on August 15, 2008:

Professor Greenfield has spent a lifetime researching the physiology of the brain, and now thinks that there could be a link between the attention span of children and the growing use of computers.

In an interview for Radio 4’s iPM she said: “The last 10 years have seen a three-fold increase in the prescription of the drug Ritalin, a drug used for Attention Deficit Disorder. One asks why?

“Why suddenly is there greater demand for a drug for attentional problems?” she asked. “This might, and I stress might, be something to do with the increased exposure of young children to unsupervised and lengthy hours in front of a screen.”

Baroness Greenfield wondered if the cause was growing computer use.

“Could it be, and this is just a suggestion which I think we should look into, could it be if a small child is sitting in front of a screen pressing buttons and getting reactions quickly for many hours, they get used to and their brains get used to rapid responses?” she said.

If children do not have stories read to them and have little practice of concentrating for long periods this could effect how they handle the sedate pace of school life, said Baroness Greenfield.

Or maybe they are the solution…

From the BBC on April 4, 2008:

Evidence shows that where technology is used effectively in schools, the results are inspiring – improved grades and retention rates, greater participation by students and increased effectiveness by teachers and tutors.

Schools across the country are using the internet, mobile phones, interactive whiteboards, hand-held learning devices, school radio stations, blogging, podcasts, digital photography and video conferencing to create increasingly stimulating and exciting environments for their students to learn.

… Whether we like it or not, technology is now at the heart of everyday life for us all.

From the BBC on April 2, 2008:

“There is an issue about parenting,” said Robin Blake, head of media literacy at Ofcom.

He added: “Parents who are allowing their children to go online without supervision and support… need to recognise that their children are potentially at risk.”

From the BBC on October 22, 2007:

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has designed a new programme for teachers and parents.

… It has designed a series of online activities, resources and lesson plans for children, parents and teachers.

Children can play a series of games in a “Cybercafe” on CEOP’s Think U Know website, advising characters on what to do in various online or text scenarios.

… Stephen Crowne, chief executive of Becta said: “The internet provides a world of possibilities and is an exciting and informative place for young people to explore and enjoy, but we must do everything we can to make sure that this is a safe environment.

“This means that there is a duty of care on parents and education practitioners when children are at school or at home.”


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