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Preparing elementary school students for active citizenship in an increasingly digital world requires introducing them to the latest technologies, but engaging those same kids in the classroom and involving their parents and caregivers in the process is more than a matter of providing children with access to the latest electronic devices.
Tablets and laptops have their educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests they have limitations as well.
Technology - Kids - Outcomes - Ball - Expert
"You can't simply throw technology at kids and expect positive outcomes," says Ball, an expert in educational justice and school social work whose new study shows a decrease in academic motivation for students who participated in a technology-based intervention.
Students' attitudes toward school, how they respond to the challenges of learning, their confidence about managing assignments and whether they work hard and try their best are all a part of academic motivation—or the degree to which a student cares about school.
Factors - Presence - Absence - Tablets - Motivation
Though several factors other than the presence or absence of tablets might influence that motivation, Ball says the results of her study point to the need for looking more closely at how technology fits into the early-learning environment.
"The critical piece for me is not about being anti-technology, but to emphasize that even with, or especially with, technology, schools must work on the interpersonal things that happen in schools," she says. "Schools are communities and we should find ways to help teachers understand how technology plays into the classroom; help kids use it in ways that facilitates their learning; and then help parents understand how to work with...
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