Creativity vs Screen Time

We have spent a lot of time with educational technology experts and I have taken a couple of online courses in “edtech” because we use technology in all of our projects and we are in the process of digitizing our curriculum. We are constantly debating how to deliver education to communities too small and far away to justify sending a teacher and technology is the obvious answer. We are also hyper aware of the cultural sensitivities in the communities where we work and insist the curriculum be drawn from local context. Here in North America the debate around technology in the classroom rages on but I really like the approach taken by Mitchel Resnick at MiT media lab, the place where the first educational software (“Scratch”) was invented. In his book called “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play” he says:

“Rather than trying to choose between high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech, parents and teachers should be searching for activities that will engage children in creative thinking and creative expression.”

This is exactly what our teachers are doing in Peru and Bolivia. A blog excerpt from Mitchel Resnick’s book:

“Today, concerns about the role of new technologies in children’s lives are often expressed in terms of screen time. Parents and teachers are trying to decide if they should set limits on how much time their children spend interacting with screens. I think this debate misses the point. Of course there’s a problem if children spend all their time interacting with screens — just as there would be a problem if they spent all their time playing the violin or reading books or playing sports. Spending all your time on any one thing is problematic. But the most important issue with screen time is not quantity but quality. There are many ways of interacting with screens; it doesn’t make sense to treat them all the same.

Click on the link to read the full blog entry from Mitchel Resnick: “Screen Time? How about Creativity Time? [Excerpt from my book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play]”

Photo Courtesy of: Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at MIT Media Lab, director of Lifelong Kindergarten research group, and co-director of the Scratch Team (