Friday, November 9, 2018

Is Screen Time at School Bad for Kids? - The Atlantic

Is Screen Time at School Bad for Kids? - The Atlantic
The Backlash Against Screen Time at School
Combining education and technology is great—until it's not.


Four years ago, Paul France left a teaching job in the Chicago suburbs to move to San Francisco and be part of the so-called personalized-learning revolution in education. He joined a high-profile start-up called AltSchool whose investors include Mark Zuckerberg and the venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. France was passionate about both education and technology and welcomed the opportunity to combine the two. But they would not prove to be as complementary as he thought.
AltSchool’s founder, a former Google executive named Max Ventilla, envisioned it as a place where students, aided by technology and tech-savvy teachers, would learn at their own pace, based on their interests and aptitudes. Teachers, using proprietary software to track student performance and help guide their learning, would be freed from time-consuming tasks like scoring exams and could devote more attention to students. The company’s mission was to help move the American education system from an industrial age model “where schools were set up to resemble factories and students had a conveyor belt-like experience” to a more “learner-centric” approach that gives students a sense of agency and 21st-century problem-solving skills, Devin Vodicka, who is responsible for guiding the company’s personalized learning platform as it expands to more schools, told me.

The company opened small lab schools in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and New York. Students were provided with their own iPads or Chromebooks along with individualized “playlists” of learning activities to choose from. Cameras in classrooms videotaped students’ and teachers’ interactions, enabling teachers and engineers to analyze the footage and review what worked, a process AltSchool technologists hoped would eventually be aided by computers using machine-learning algorithms.
AltSchool was flooded with applicants willing and able to pay tuition of $30,000 or more for their children to attend, and became one of the hottest start-ups in educational technology; to date, it has raised more than $170 million in investment. It was part of a broad investor rush to ed tech. Last year, Continue reading: Is Screen Time at School Bad for Kids? - The Atlantic


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