“The way the kids were staring at the screen, it seemed obvious they would learn better from the DVDs,” she said. But brain scans and language testing revealed that the DVD group “learned absolutely nothing,” Dr. Kuhl said. Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?, NY Times, Oct. 11, 2014
Technology continues to evolve, and advances aren’t going away. As a school, we have to judge what the right technology is for our classrooms, and what needs to stay away. Long ago it was decided (far before I, Sarah, arrived at the Gan!) that televisions should stay out of the classroom. Passively watching, even “educational” programming, is not aligned with how we know children learn best nor what develops their brains. So you will not find televisions in Gan classrooms. But with learning apps for computers, iPads, and other shared or individual electronic devices, the question is whether there is any educational value for little learners to be gained by bringing these new devices into the classroom. The answer, as we have come to understand it, is a mixed, “it depends.” It depends on how the technology is being used and how often. Is it a substitute for hands-on engagement, or a supplement? Recently the Gan Parents Association (GPA) purchased an iPad for every classroom in the Gan. We look forward to teachers showing children how to use them as cameras to take their own photos. We look forward to teachers using their web-search functions with students to enhance learning of topics under investigation. And we forsee classes finding other creative uses for the Ipad, including loading class music and holiday tunes for play in the class. But we assure you, you will never see children playing “games” -educational or otherwise – on the iPads. We will never let technology replace good, hands-on, down and dirty PLAY at the Gan!