Young Children And Computers

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Young Children And Computers

  1. 1. Young Children and Computers Emily Cole and Wendy Fuller
  2. 2. Questions we’ll address in this presentation <ul><li>At what age should children begin to use the computer? </li></ul><ul><li>Are children harmed by early computer use? </li></ul><ul><li>Are children harmed by extensive computer use? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there research to support the effectiveness of using computers in education with young children (before grade three)? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some guidelines for teachers and software designers to follow? </li></ul>
  3. 3. At what age should children begin to use the computer? <ul><li>According to the Northwest Education Technology Consortium (NETC), by the age of 3, a child can begin to use a computer meaningfully with the help of an adult or an older child. </li></ul><ul><li>On average, by age 3½ children can point and click with a mouse. </li></ul><ul><li>The Alliance for Children claims that young children are not ready for computer based learning and learn better through hands-on interactions with nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Healy (1998) criticizes the use of computers with young children as it displaces other fruitful learning activities that are more developmentally appropriate for young children. </li></ul><ul><li> From Computers and Young Children: Social Benefit or Social Problems? </li></ul>
  4. 4. At what age should children begin to use the computer? <ul><li>In hundreds of school-based experiments, computer applications have improved children’s performance in reading, writing, and basic mathematics. </li></ul><ul><li>Drill-and-practice software has repeatedly been shown to work. Improvements can be large: students in an experiment’s computing group gain roughly three months over their non-computer counterparts, using the educational progress made in a normal school year as a yardstick (Melmed1995). </li></ul><ul><li>A second type of software intended to improve problem-solving skills offers a more mixed picture, working in some cases but not in others (Coley et al. 1997; Software & Information Industry Association 1999). </li></ul><ul><li>Computers do not currently have a strong impact on student learning because most teachers find them to be of limited utility and hard to deploy in their daily teaching, and therefore use them in small doses. (Cuban 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>From Computers and Young Children: Social Benefit or Social Problem? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Are children harmed by early computer use? <ul><li>Emphasizing computers in childhood may expose children to the risk of a broad range of developmental setbacks. Potential hazards include the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>• Musculoskeletal injuries </li></ul><ul><li>• Visual strain and myopia </li></ul><ul><li>• Obesity and other complications of a sedentary lifestyle </li></ul><ul><li>• Possible side effects from toxic emissions and electromagnetic radiation </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional and Social Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>• Social isolation </li></ul><ul><li>• Weakened bonds with teachers </li></ul><ul><li>• Lack of self-discipline and self-motivation </li></ul><ul><li>• Emotional detachment from community </li></ul><ul><li>• Commercial exploitation </li></ul>
  6. 6. Are children harmed by early computer use? <ul><li>Intellectual Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>• Lack of creativity </li></ul><ul><li>• Stunted imaginations </li></ul><ul><li>• Impoverished language and literacy skills </li></ul><ul><li>• Poor concentration, attention deficits </li></ul><ul><li>• Too little patience for the hard work of learning </li></ul><ul><li>• Plagiarism </li></ul><ul><li>• Distraction from meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Moral Hazards </li></ul><ul><li>• Exposure to online violence, pornography, bigotry, and other inappropriate material </li></ul><ul><li>• Emphasis on information devoid of ethical and moral context </li></ul><ul><li>• Lack of purpose and irresponsibility in seeking and applying knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>From Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood </li></ul>
  7. 7. Are children harmed by extensive computer use? <ul><li>A very small percentage of children studied who used home computers for 8 hours or more per week. </li></ul><ul><li>This correlates to fewer hours spent playing outdoor sports and activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy computer use is also associated with substantially higher body mass index in children, even after controlling for family background. </li></ul><ul><li>Computer effects were minimal on test scores of heavy computer users as compared to those with moderate to little home computer use. </li></ul><ul><li>From Computers and Young Children: Social Benefit or Social Problems? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Is there research to support the effectiveness of using computers in education with young children (before grade three)? <ul><li>Georgetown University's Children's Digital Media Center (CDMC) looked at computer use in children who were from 6-months to 6-years of age. </li></ul><ul><li>The parents surveyed reported that very young children who had access to computers were using them: 21 percent of children two and younger, 58 percent of 3- to 4-year olds, and 77 percent of 5- to 6-year olds with computers in the home had used them. Children who had used computers first did so on a parent's lap around age 2 ½ and used computers independently by 3 ½ years of age. On average, children used a mouse to point and click by age 3 ½. </li></ul><ul><li>In a separate study, CDMC researchers examined the effect of user control on children's attention to and learning of content presented in a computer story. The researchers found that over time, children's attention to interactive media remained high when they controlled the mouse, but user control did not affect retention of the story content. </li></ul><ul><li>The study examined the effects of user control on 53 preschool-aged children's comprehension of content presented in an online storybook. The story was presented to the children four times in one of four scenarios: a) an adult controlled the mouse and read the story as the child observed; b) the adult and child took turns interacting with the story; c) the child controlled the mouse as he or she interacted with the program; d) a no-exposure session where the child never saw or interacted with the computer program. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;These results suggest that control is an engagement feature that pulls children into an activity.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The study presents a lesson that may influence constructive early adult-child interactions with educational computer software.“ </li></ul><ul><li>From Children’s Digital Media Center (CDMC) Website </li></ul>
  9. 9. What are some guidelines for teachers and software designers to follow? <ul><li>Social and language skills are increased through conversation, so group young students at a computer together. </li></ul><ul><li>Most learning in using </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers should encourage parents to use computer time with their children as an opportunity to talk, listen and share experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Make computer time multi-sensory with music and real-life objects to support the computer activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Balance time on the computer with physical activities such as blocks, clay, paint, etc… </li></ul><ul><li>Talk with children as they work on the computer and explain what is happening. </li></ul><ul><li>From Early Connections – Preschool NETC website </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conclusion <ul><li>There is no substantial evidence that computers are increasing the academic achievement of those students. </li></ul><ul><li>According to the Alliance For Childhood, technology is preventing necessary child and adult interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Computers are developmentally above young children's appropriate learning level. </li></ul><ul><li>When computers are use, it should be paired with other student, teacher, or adult interactions, as well as with physical activities that support the activities on the computer. </li></ul><ul><li>In hundreds of school-based experiments, computer applications have improved children’s performance in reading, writing, and basic mathematics. </li></ul><ul><li>Drill-and-practice software has repeatedly been shown to work. Improvements can be large: students in an experiment’s computing group gain roughly three months over their non-computer counterparts, using the educational progress made in a normal school year as a yardstick (Melmed1995). </li></ul><ul><li>A second type of software intended to improve problem-solving skills offers a more mixed picture, working in some cases but not in others (Coley et al. 1997; Software & Information Industry Association 1999). </li></ul><ul><li>Computers do not currently have a strong impact on student learning because most teachers find them to be of limited utility and hard to deploy in their daily teaching, and therefore use them in small doses. (Cuban 2001) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Resources <ul><li>Computers and Young Children From PBS </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/computers-preschool.html </li></ul><ul><li>Alliance for Childhood-Computers and Children </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.allianceforchildhood.net/projects/computers/index.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Children's Digital Media Center </li></ul><ul><li>http://cdmc.georgetown.edu/about_press.cfm#research_examines </li></ul><ul><li>How Technology Can Enhance Early Childhood Learning </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.netc.org/earlyconnections/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>Computers and Young Children: Social Benefit or Social Problems? </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_studies/attewell03.pdf </li></ul>

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