SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Matt Brunk | September 02, 2016 |

 
   

Technology in Education: Good & Bad?

Technology in Education: Good & Bad? Computers in the classroom could contribute to negative impacts of technology overuse among children, one expert suggests.

Computers in the classroom could contribute to negative impacts of technology overuse among children, one expert suggests.

Daniel Amen, a clinical neuroscientist and brain-imaging expert, earlier this week met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss how technology for kids is addictive and disrupts the development of the child's brain. Since I've built numerous campus networks and worked in the education vertical, this meeting caught my attention.

Over the years, I have found so many areas within education where technology, especially one-to-one computing initiatives, aims to improve the learning environment and student performance. Did Dr. Amen mean to suggest these could have negative impacts?

Daniel Amen, M.D., heads Amen Clinics, located in Orange County, Calif., Atlanta, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., and the Seattle area. He has written numerous books, including "Healing ADD" and "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life."

Dr. Amen uses single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) brain scans on kids addicted to technology. According to the Mayo Clinic, a SPECT scan "lets your doctor analyze the function of some of your internal organs. A SPECT scan is a type of nuclear imaging test, which means it uses a radioactive substance and a special camera to create 3-D pictures."

Dr. Daniel Amen

By email, Dr. Amen answered a few questions for me. Here's an edited version of that correspondence.

Is there an amount of time that technology use is acceptable, and what is the tipping point from acceptable to unacceptable? Does it matter regarding the nature of use: game vs. math problems; reading a textbook vs. reading a novel?
Dr. Amen:
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics write that children aged 0 to two years should not have any exposure to technology, three to five years should be restricted to one hour per day, and six to 18 years to two hours per day.

Yes, what kids do on technology matters. Tetris is better than Grand Theft Auto.

What are the metrics and or indicators that show disruption to children's brain development?
Dr. Amen:
I have done brain SPECT scans on kids addicted to technology and they show disruption on many areas of the brain, especially lower frontal lobe function and altered temporal lobe function. Others have shown thinner frontal lobe cortices.

Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich says, "Our brains are being massively rewired." Others say technology addictions are the cigarettes of the 21st century.

With the nationwide one-to-one school initiative -- one computer for every student -- and research indicating benefits of technology in the classroom, could we make the argument that we're going too far with technology in the classroom?
Dr. Amen:
Technology is just pervasive, leading to an overdependence.

Additionally, Dr. Amen shared some of his talking points for the Vatican conference.

  1. Exposure in small children decreases development of executive function, attention and impulse control
  2. Decreases movement, which decreases development and increases obesity
  3. Tech is messing up our sleep. Distracts us, stimulates us, worries us. Blue light suppressing melatonin. Loss of sleep is associated with depression, suicide, ADHD, and actual loss of brain tissue
  4. Easily distracted, including while driving
  5. Poor focus... hyperlinks make it very hard to get all the way through material
  6. Increases mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.
  7. Outsourced our memory and knowledge to the Internet, which can often be unreliable
  8. Millenials are more forgetful than people 55 and older, according to a new study
  9. Can't find your way around without your GPS. Delays diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
  10. Can be addicted, lose control, and have your life hijacked. "John CS" became violent when video games taken from him
  11. Violent media decreases empathy

Will Dr. Amen's findings give pause to educators about how much time kids engage with technology at schools? Perhaps they should take heed of the adage, "Garbage in, garbage out" -- meaning that bad or improper use of technology yields undesired results. But I don't think Dr. Amen is excluding content or use of any kind. Of course, despite the potentially negative consequences of overuse, trying to regulate technology use may certainly prove more challenging than rewarding -- at least from the perspective of parents.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
@telecomworx
Matt Brunk on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

February 22, 2017

Sick of video call technology that make participants look like they're in the witness protection program? Turns out youre not alone. Poor-quality video solutions can give users an unprofessional ap

March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.