There has been an explosion of technology in the classroom in recent years, and that’s only going to increase as the years go on. There are pros and cons to this increase, but there are also ways to mitigate the negative impacts of technology on learning—and make sure it works to your advantage! This article will explain how technology impacts learning, both negatively and positively, as well as offer tips on how to harness the power of technology and use it to your benefit. Technology and Learning: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Kids are getting more screen time than ever

A 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that many kids are spending more than eight hours a day in front of one or more screens. And in 2013, a survey conducted by Common Sense Media found that 55 percent of parents thought their teens were addicted to technology. This has some pretty clear negative effects on kids—and adults alike. Excessive screen time can cause trouble concentrating; it impacts social skills and it’s linked to obesity in children and adults. Technology is all around us today, but it doesn’t have to negatively impact your life. Learn about how you can better incorporate tech into your life without giving up social skills or family interactions.

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What’s different about screen time today?

It may seem like technology has always been with us, but that’s far from true. It’s only been about 20 years since we first started walking around with a computer in our pockets. Sure, its capabilities have grown tremendously—but so have its implications for our brains. In fact, it may be time to start thinking of smartphones as drugs—hormones in their own right.

Technology and Learning: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Technology and Learning: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Though some debate exists over just how much screen time is healthy for kids (and adults), most studies agree that excess screen time can lead to depression and anxiety; it can also mess with our ability to think deeply or creatively (or both).

Why should I care?

We all have things we need to learn, but have you ever stopped to think about whether or not what you’re learning is relevant? Think of how much easier your life would be if you could eliminate boring content from your studies. Luckily for us, technology has made it easy for us to learn in many different ways. However, with access to so many different sources of information comes confusion over which sources are legitimate. While some sources can be really helpful tools when trying to learn something new, others might waste your time or even be completely bogus. This post will help you evaluate various types of technology and learning tools and give some tips on how you can use them most effectively.

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When should you start thinking about screen time?

Research confirms what we all intuitively know—technology can be a powerful tool for education. One of technology’s most exciting impacts on learning is how it opens up opportunities for self-directed learning. Thanks to Web 2.0 tools like YouTube and Khan Academy, students are able to pursue their own interests in ways that simply weren’t possible before. For example, some colleges are even beginning to incorporate videos from YouTube into their teaching style (though it’s still in its early stages). This allows them to quickly find instructional content that appeals directly to their students’ strengths and needs—no longer do professors have total control over course material or topics discussed in class; rather they serve as mentors who help guide students through unfamiliar subjects using readily available resources on the Internet.

Technology and Learning: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Technology and Learning: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Research says…

A 2017 study published in Cognition shows that students who used a laptop in class scored lower on a series of tests than those who did not. This finding supports earlier research that found computer use might have a negative impact on academic performance. There are many theories as to why laptops are detrimental to learning — including distracting peers and teachers, impaired attention span, or simply spending too much time on social media. Given these findings, it may be worth reconsidering your school’s technology policy or incorporating strategies into your teaching practices to mitigate any negative effects.

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Set up rules for screen time. And be willing to enforce them.

Consistency is key to helping your child make a positive change. If you tell him that he has to be more active, make sure that you let him pick out two different activities each day. It could be as simple as choosing one thing at school and another after dinner at home or going for a walk after breakfast on one day and then playing outside with friends or riding bikes in another part of town on another day. Point being? You don’t want to set such high expectations only to disappoint your child if he doesn’t live up to them; instead you need a plan with realistic goals where your child can feel like he’s successful even if it’s only for a short time. Besides…you just may find yourself getting more active too!

Let your child pick two activities each day. And then stick with it.

So simple—and yet so challenging. Many parents find that when they’re enthusiastic about an activity at first, their children are all over it. But if their interest wanes a few days later, their kids start to resist. This type of behavior is normal for young children—but that doesn’t make it any easier for parents to deal with.

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