More Luddite FUD about kids and computers

Paul Raven @ 24-05-2011

I was thinking it had been a while since we had one of these. Via FuturePundit, O NOEZ TEH TECHNOLOGIES BE MAKIN KIDS SUCK AT TEH REEDIN:

“Our study shows that the entry of computers into the home has contributed to changing children’s habits in such a manner that their reading does not develop to the same extent as previously. By comparing countries over time we can see a negative correlation between change in reading achievement and change in spare time computer habits which indicates that reading ability falls as leisure use of computers increases”, says Monica Rosén.

OK, I’ll see your study and raise you with this one:

The e-Learning Foundation says that children without access to a computer in the evening are being increasingly disadvantaged in the classroom. Research suggests that 1.2 million teenagers log on to revision pages every week and those using online resources were on average likely to attain a grade higher in exams.

The charity cites BBC research in which more than 100 students used the BBC Bitesize revision materials before their GCSE examination. The children were found to have achieved a grade lift compared to those who did not use the online revision guides. The BBC study says: “This is compared to factors such as teacher influence, which was found to produce no significant difference.”

Which is right? I have no idea. The point is that if you send social scientists looking for evidence to support a pretty nebulous and hard-to-quantify phenomenon, they’ll probably rustle some up. Seek and you shall find… or, I dunno, spend that research money on looking into ways that we can use technology more effectively? How’s about it, huh?

Computers and the internet are here to stay. The way kids learn and interact with the world has changed hugely in last 100 years, and will keep changing, as it always has since the day some smart hunter/gatherer created the first baby sling. If all you’re gonna do is sit on your porch and kvetch about the good old days, you might as well let the kids get some enjoyment out of running around on the lawn.

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One Response to “More Luddite FUD about kids and computers”

  1. Chad says:

    “we can see a negative correlation between change in reading achievement and change in spare time computer habits which indicates that reading ability falls as leisure use of computers increases”

    How much? They don’t say. It could be minor. It also could be that they sampled households that have poor parents, only one parent, etc.

    Plus, reading isn’t the only important skill anymore.