Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tech vs Book

I've been reading a lot of articles lately about technology and children. Opinions on how much time kids should spend on technology, what kinds of technology they should use, the educational benefits of technology, the rules parents should set about technology are as wide and hot (I mean varying) as the sun. 

We are spending so much time worrying about technology. 

Every single person has a limited amount of time each day. Twenty-four hours, sixteen if you sleep. How much of that time do we fritter away? I know I fritter, and I consciously try not to. But when I have no plan of action, my time melts away before my eyes, gone in a flash, and there is too little to show for it. 

The same is doubly true for our children. When I think of the time I wasted watching television as a child, I truly, truly want to cry. What could I have done with that time? Hours and hours and hours of time? Anything, probably. Dream, learn, grow, play, serve, make friends. And I can't get it back. 

Check out this article:

Here are the opening paragraphs:

The proportion of children reading for pleasure has declined as their time is crowded with other activities, and more than a fifth never read in their own time, according to research published on Friday.
The study, which finds a clear link between reading outside class and high achievement in school, reveals that fewer children are reading comics and magazines.
The research by the National Literacy Trust was based on a study of more than 21,000 children carried out last year.
It finds that text messages are the most commonly read material outside of class.
This is not about high quality, excellent literature. Fewer children are reading comic books and magazines. Text messages are the most commonly read material outside of class. 

How much time are our children spending texting?

In 2005, four out of ten children said they read outside of school in their free time. Now, just eight years later, it's three out of ten. 

Even if you don't care about reading, your kids won't be high achievers in school if they don't read at home. They won't. They simply won't. 

And now the standards are being raised all across the country. David Coleman, the man who orchestrated the language arts portion of the common core, recently said this in a lecture to educators.

"It is rare in a working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.” Translation to the classroom: No more primary grade essays about lost teeth or middle school essays about prepubescent angst. Instead, students must provide critical analysis of the “Allegory of the Cave” from Plato’s Republic." 

This is real. "Allegory of the Cave" is listed as an exemplary informational text in the common core for twelve year olds, as is Reagan's "Address to Students at Moscow State University." Our kids are going to be asked to read and understand and analyze difficult stuff at younger and younger ages. 

Whether you agree with these fundamental changes to our schools or not, it is coming. Actually, it's here. I recently heard a lecture where the common core was described as the biggest educational shift in the past fifty years in America, bigger even than No Child Left Behind. 

(Read this article if you are interested in learning more about the Common Core and how David Coleman and his beliefs are changing the world (He is now the president of the College Board and has plans to completely revamp the ACT and the SAT so that they are "knowledge based.") 

Will our kids be ready? No. Not if they are not getting some serious reading in at home. Because there isn't time for them to play catch up in school. There just isn't time. 

They have to read at home. They have to. 

So I suggest this. Instead of worrying about technology, let's worry about reading. Let's make time to read. Let's force our kids to make time to read in whatever way we, as parents, feel is best. 

Forget about technology! Somehow, make it a non-issue! Technology is not going to save our children. It is not going to help them create a critical analysis of the "Allegory of the Cave." But great comic books with fabulous stories and fabulous words that suck our kids in until they can't stop reading just might save them. Great comic books like Tin Tin, and Asterix. (Seriously, have you read the language in those things? Awesome.)

Here's a picture book list for today. Get thee to the library!!! (And drop the iPhones in the book return on the way in. He he.) 

Dogs on Duty by Dorothy Patent
Charlie's First Night by Amy Hest
Demolition by Sally Sutton
Dreaming Up by Christy Hale
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Kahn
Goldie Locks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
Hippopposites by Janik Coat
Just Ducks by Nicola Davies

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog, Lindsay. You always help us find good books from the library. I always consult your blog when I need something new for Elsa or Finley to read. I love it!