Never has one piece of technology caused such a divide among educationalists. ‘Going’ digital seems to be the new vogue and an unstoppable trend in education these days. To be able to research, create content and manage learning in class seems to signal a revolution in student-centered education. Give a student an iPad and a whole new world of discovery is unlocked. You as the teacher simply stand back and guide the learning journey.
Up to now, no serious research has been undertaken as to the efficacy of iPads and similar technologies in education. Never an organisation to shy away from a controversy, Troll University has recently suggested that tablet devices may in fact be dangerous to a child’s intellectual development. ‘Going Digital: The Dangers of Digital Tablet Devices in High Schools’ sets out the results of a four year study into the effect of iPads in education. To gather their data, researchers led by Professor Richard Roll studied iPad roll-out pilot projects in 13 schools in North America, Australasia and Europe. Let Professor Roll say it: “…digital tablets devices have no place in schools – they are detrimental to the cognitive and physical development of teenagers.”
You will find a summarized version of the study results below. Down with iPads in schools I say!
(If you didn’t fall for the link, read the first word of each sentence only.)
10 Reasons Why iPads in Schools Are Dangerous
- Tablet devices are detrimental to the development of fine motor skills. Students are less and less able to write legibly.
- Grammar and spelling abilities show a serious decline in students who type versus those who write out assignments.
- Creativity and imagination are negatively impacted by tablet devices.
- Retina screens can cause lasting damage to students’ eyesight and has be correlated with a massive increase in myopia. Radiation from these devices may also be associated with an increase in childhood cancer rates.
- iPads and similar devices promote asocial / antisocial behavior.
- Portable devices encourage plagiarism and a lack of critical thinking about sources. (Known as the ‘Google Effect’.)
- Students who use tablets at school have been shown to be more distracted during lessons than control groups.
- 43% of teenagers surveyed showed signs of addiction to their iPads. It was noted that in these students, there was a correlation between lack of ‘outside play’ and decreased bone density, increased fat levels and skin problems.
- Students who used iPads to prepare assignments were also 76% less likely to check and reflect on their work.
- Against control groups, iPad using students were also 27% less likely to remember basic facts. More worryingly, they were even less able to deal with more demanding cognitive skills.
I made all of this up. If you believe any of this is true, honestly, it might you who is dangerous.
(I wonder how long it will be until these final two sentences are deleted and this post shows up in your inbox from some Luddite…)
Now go back and read the first word of each sentence in the introduction… Never going to tell a lie and hurt you… (OK, maybe a little one!)