Why do we need this?
Concerned that they are educating children for an unknown future and aiming to meet the digital curriculum requirements in time, many schools have poured devices into classrooms for children to work on, sometimes almost exclusively, from very young ages. Bring your own device (BYOD) is now commonly encouraged from 7 or 8 years old. While well intended, there is little evidence to suggest that this will improve educational outcomes or future opportunities for our children. In fact, students from many schools are spending far more time than is recommended on screens, raising concerns for families and health professionals alike.
Our children have a better chance of doing well academically and emotionally with an evidence-based, moderate approach to technology use in class. As increasing evidence is presented by researchers, it is time for the New Zealand educational system to look carefully at what is best for our children, both now and in the future. We need to re-evaluate the use of screens to teach basic skills such as reading and writing. We need to develop sensible limits for device access and reduce distractions for both children and adolescents. We need to allow children the space to develop social skills and relationships through real interactions with humans, not screens. The digital curriculum could achieve great things for our children and our schooling if implemented in an evidence-based way.