Here we go again. Do schools have to be all or nothing? Cecilia Kang’s article shows us the two polar opposites of what should be a balanced approach to teaching. If plotted on a graph, Washington Waldorf School would be on one end of the bell curve, and Flint Hill School would be on the other end. Most schools would fall inside the bell, balancing between high-tech and no-tech.
Being a digital toddler myself, I was happy to be reminded that not all schools are embracing technology full on and that I have the option to wade into cyberspace and not dive into it. Learning about what is available out there is important, but we must also use what is around us in the physical world. We must remember that there are children that learn by using their senses of touch, taste, and smell, who need to experience the world in reality rather than virtually.
I appreciated what Michael Rich, director of the Center on Child Media and Health at Harvard University, said: “We have to stop and think if we are embracing technology just because it is there and new or if it is the best tool for what we want to accomplish.” Much like our current lesson plan assignment, we have to think whether the technology we are adding to the plans truly enhances the learning or if it’s just to use an iPad or the internet.
This article cited studies that supported both ends: technology increasing children’s vocabulary as well as its decreasing their attention span. It shows how the two Ninas are similar while growing in two different environments. Moreover, it shows how the two environments are similar, too. Students make decisions about what to do when they become bored with the class. Passing notes happens in both schools; they just don’t use paper at Flint Hill.
What it boils down to is that parents have a choice. It is up to them to decide where they stand, to choose the right school for their own children, and to advocate for their children.