“Tablets and laptops have their educational virtues,” says Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.
However, her recent studies in educational justice and school social work concludes that these virtues also have limitations. Her research shows that there is a reduction of academic motivation in technology-based interventions.
"You can't simply throw technology at kids and expect positive outcomes," says Ball. "The critical piece for me is not about being anti-technology, but to emphasize that even with, or especially with, technology, schools must work on the interpersonal things that happen in schools.”
There are several factors to consider when examining how technology incorporates with early and diverse learning.
"Schools are communities and we should find ways to help teachers understand how technology plays into the classroom; help kids use it in ways that facilitates their learning; and then help parents understand how to work with their kids."
Findings were published in the journal Children & Schools and discusses how the broadband gap with tablet users and home Wi-Fi to students in the urban New York State school district affects classroom and parental engagement.
"My focus is family engagement research, so I'm always interested in the ways that families engage with schools and how schools try to engage with families," Ball says. "I'm also interested in changing classroom dynamics to help student-teacher relationships and positive youth development."
Earlier studies suggested that relationship building between families and their children's schools is critical for student motivation.
"These technology programs are being rolled out massively and the evidence on their effects is mixed," says Ball. "Context plays a role, because teachers reported seeing more collaboration among the kids, so there is something that can be leveraged within the learning context to help kids benefit from these tools.
Source: Science Daily