Brain Changes and Technology

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Had to share this book…

Susan Greenfield CBE is a Senior research Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford University with various roles as scientist, writer, broadcaster and cross bench member of the House of Lords.  In 2009 she engaged in a debate in the House of Lords on the regulation of websites , ‘particularly in regard to children’s well being and safety’ (Greenfield, S. (2014). Mind Change. London: Penguin Random House, preface xi.). She warns of:

  • over exposure to social media sites and the numbing of empathy associated with extended use, “if you hurt someone’s feelings but cannot see their reaction, you’ll lack sufficient cues to understand, apologise or take otherwise compensatory action”
  • “the computer screen threatening to out-compete real life
  • dissociation from the natural world with all its beauty, complexity and constant surprise”
  • “a new type of environment where taste, touch and smell are not stimulated”
  • “a world of ever present dangers such as cyber bullying, sexual grooming and violent gaming”
  • lightening speed dissemination of information that results in shallow learning and poorer working memories
  •  the loss of a private life and the true self being overtaken by the ideal self as presented on line
  • as cyber relationships take over a reduction in real friendships and increased loneliness
  • Digital Natives who ‘struggle to communicate face-to-face, and have shifted the development of romantic relationships online, with couples preferring to get to know each other first through the distance and safety of their smartphones”
  • a decline in deep meaningful relationships due to a lack of rehearsal of social skills
  • blurring of the line between gossip and fact and irreversible consequences to reputations
  • withdrawal from friends and family to feed gaming addictions
  • the correlation between screen time and attention problems, violent games and aggressive behaviour
  • poor comprehension due to the distractions of multitasking

What about the use of technology in the classroom???

So the greatest promise of digital devices lies not so much in the software and screen delivery themselves, but in there use in close connection with teachers‘ efforts” (Greenfield, p239).  We are the catalysts that will ensure the responsible integration of ICT into the next generation – a big responsibility….

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