First week of Technology in Music Education was fun, sitting around on the floor just having a chat. We talked about the place of technology in Education, something that I have been fairly against since the get-go of my music ed degree. Technology tends to be unreliable, finicky and completely over-rated.
After our little chitty-chat in class, my views have started expanding, though I must admit, I’m finding it a hard turn around.
An argument for technology in learning comes from the generational perspective. If children (the genZ, or “digital natives”) are using advanced technology at home, then why not utilise this in schools? I agree with this, as it is beneficial to use a child’s already known skills and build on them in a way that develops other skills you want them to learn.
There are the downsides to too much technology in a child’s life however, as Christakis points out in his TED talk.
Studies have shown that children who are exposed to too much fast sequenced visual stimuation have an increased risk that they will have attention difficulties when they grow up. Baby Einstein videos are designed to keep a baby’s attention focused on the on screen action. To do this, they change film clip on average every 3 seconds. When a baby is first shown these videos, their panic reflex is set off, but they DO watch the show. As they continue to watch these videos (sometimes around 4hrs a day), they become somewhat desensitised to the fast paced action. When they eventually grow up and go to school, real-life pace of learning is now too slow for the child and they become disinterested very quickly.
Before watching the video, I already had views that mirror their findings. I think it’s completely obvious that you wouldn’t plonk a baby down in front of the telly for hours on end each day, and of course, if you play with your baby with blocks and cognitive stimulation, then they will have a stronger and more well rounded development.
Mitra’s TED talk points out that children have the ability (when provided with the motivation) to learn astronomical amounts of information. He was able to come to this conclusion with the help of computers and the internet placed stategically in low-class India.
I argue that though these children had amazing learning capacities and skills from using these computers, they would already have had a basis of cognitive education from their parents at home.
Maybe the process for educating a child with technology could begin at a later age (maybe 7-8). Children will still have the motivation to learn how to use the computers and they will also have the capability to teach themselves the skill.