Embracing Screen Time

ednext_june15_toppo_coverThis holiday season we’re taking a break from our regular programming to offer a series of reflective blog entries in the holiday spirit. Instead of political commentary, we’re planning to wrap up 2016 by bringing you good news and promising innovations in K-12 education.

Before you start to feel guilty about all the time your children are spending in front of screens this winter break, consider how much they might be learning from all the screen time.

Games and Apps

In 2015 we posted an article by Greg Toppo on how video games can improve math skills, which was an excerpt from his book, The Game Believes in You: How digital play can make our kids smarter.

In 2014, parent and technology thought leader Marie Bjerede wrote an article for Education Next about the educational app landscape.

In the ST Math game JiJi Cycle, students encounter visual representations of fractions as pie shapes and must move the balloon platform to the correct place on the number line. Students later advance to connecting the visual puzzle to written fractions Courtesy MIND Research Institute

That piece was a big picture look and she followed it up with a separate article about apps and websites that offer a less structured way of learning here.

We also asked a few other people who are tech experts, policy wonks, parents, or all three to tell us about their favorite learning apps.

In School

How much time should students spend looking at screens when they are at school? Paul Peterson and Michael Horn decided to crowdsource the answer. They found that teachers believe that students, once they reach high school, should spend about 20 percent of their instructional time on a computer, while for the general public that number is 30 percent and blended-learning experts say 40 percent.

ednext_XVI_3_whatnext_img01Mike Petrilli argues for the strategic use of on-topic streaming video to boost content knowledge in science and social studies for younger kids here.

And Michael Horn looks at how schools can use virtual reality here.

—Education Next

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