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children unplug screen


Change doesn’t happen all at once; often, you don’t even notice it’s happening.  Think about how technology has changed how we interact with the world.    Screens are a way of life now. (Tissue alert on this video.)

tech on society


How did we go from a nation of  “Doctors say to limit the number of hours that children spend watching TV.” …to now wanting all schools to have 1:1 devices and ever increasing screen time at school–even for our youngest,  most vulnerable children?

Bill Gates (lest we forget, CEO of Microsoft), explained yesterday that technology is failing in schools.

gates hand waving

“A lot of the issue is helping kids stay engaged. If they don’t feel the material is relevant or they don’t have a sense of their own ability they can check out too easily. The technology has not done enough to help with this.” -Bill Gates


So how do Gates and others plan to  keep kids engaged in technology and keep them on the screen?   They make it a game.  There’s a name for that: gamification.  Keeping kids on the screen.

kids ipads


And while edtech folks would like you to think that more screen time means more learning, that has not been proven. 

From the same article quoting Bill Gates above:

“While more teachers say they welcome technology, most gadgets and digital techniques haven’t shown they can boost learning. Many schools have abandoned using iPads, for example, and online learning has yet to live up to its promises.”

Repeat.  Many schools have abandoned using iPads, for example, and online learning has yet to live up to its promises.

So why push more online screen time?

Gamification means more screen time and therefore gamification means more data collected. More data sent to the vendor, or owner of the program. Data can further be shared with any software companies the vendor partners with to package or analyze or sell the data.  Gamification has been on the BigData agenda for a few years and is increasingly embraced by edtech.  In fact they –they being the billionaires and educrats of the Global Ed Futures reform agenda– want (among other things) online games to be considered for class credit in future years.

GEF gaming


WHY push screen time for kids, why get kids “hooked” oookay…”engaged” on games, when there is no proof that online screen is better than a real human teacher?  Gamification is big business for tracking data, as you can see by this entire 2014 symposium on gamification and according to one of its many presenters, gamification will allow you to:

“Learn how to derive maximum value through effective gamification strategy and development. Utilize simple (and mostly free!) tools to better track marketing impact of your existing loyalty/gamification efforts and uncover otherwise latent hidden data ‘gems’.”


So what about those concerns around screen time?

What this “screen time” does to a child’s brain development, health, social and behavioral skills, society–is a question many, including scientists,  have begun to ponder. Parents often say no phones at the table, limit screen time at home, but how can they limit screen time when you have an entire industry pushing  more  screen time, online engagement in the classroom?

Let’s be clear.

Parents are not afraid of technology. Parents are aware of the power technology can bring. Who doesn’t love GPS maps and smart phones, right?  Most want their children versed and exposed to technology. The concern is how much, when is it appropriate, and how is it being used–with children? Can parents set limits to screen time in schools?

Speaking of exposure and setting limits:  how much of our children’s personal, private, behavioral and psychological information is being collected and analyzed when they are logged onto those glowing screens? How safe is that data?


human computer

We are not machines. Yet.


Opt out of hidden data collection.   Unplug your children.  Take back your schools.

Demand authentic schools and authentic human teachers.  #NoRobotTeachers


Cheri Kiesecker