Why Screen-Based Learning is Bad for Students


This 2019-2020 school year, BHS became a 1:1 program school. Most of our classes are taught through our chromebooks. We use Google classroom and other google apps to work on  and turn in assignments. BYOD also known as (bring your own device) programs have been said to be detrimental to students learning. A study by Researchers from the National Institutes of Health recently offered a glimpse of the answer, based on preliminary data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. They found Children who reported more than two hours a day of screen time got lower scores on thinking and language tests.

One thing that came from the study is the finding that screens are creating “surface pro” learners. Researchers are also calling this “infobesity” where kids have more and more information at their fingertips but less and less capacity to forge connections and generate meaning. The new generation who were raised with technology is struggling to have conversations face to face, and are becoming less and less “human.” Students cut-and-paste information from other websites in order to finish their online assignments. Whereas paper assignments students don’t have that ability.

There have been rumors about the negative effects of artificial light on human eyes. Many say it is bad for your eyes and reading a book is much better for you. Yet another research project done by Dr. Kristy Goodwin on SBS Insight, found that the screens in schools don’t directly impair vision. Rather, the study showed what researchers call the “displacement effect” of more time spent indoors with artificial light. Dr. Kristy explains,“When children are out in sunlight the eye produces dopamine and that stops the eye from elongating which in turn causes myopia. If our kids are spending huge amounts of time on screens, then they’re often not getting time out in natural sunlight and natural sunlight is what the eye needs to develop,” Kristy says. But to be fair, sitting inside reading books has the exact same impact. 

Finally it devalues the role of teachers. The online assignments and activities defeats the purpose of teachers. There is less face to face interactions, so why have a full staff of underpaid individuals when you can just have a Youtube teacher? Performance would increase more with adding a teacher to a computer room then just adding another student with a computer. 

All in all, the disadvantages of screens in schools far outweigh the benefits. We need the face to face interactions that teachers provide, it is easier to cheat and lie with devices, and the artificial light is definitely not helping our eyesight. Yes the BYOD program creates good opportunities and makes turning in assignments easier, but we cannot disregard the human need for interaction. 

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