Where is the evidence?

Hi Ian,

Please consider the following newly revised 300 word letter to the editor submission for the Coast Reporter, responding to Stefanie Samaras, Chatelech math teacher.

Where is the evidence?

The education system’s illusion that technology promotes learning fails to be supported by any empirical research, yet Stefanie Samaras vehemently advocates for its continued use in school settings (Coast Reporter April 16, 2010). Elementary aged children are now using an average 8 hours per day of a variety of entertainment technologies (Kaiser Foundation 2010), resulting in 30% developmental delay (Kershaw P 2009), 30% obesity (Tremblay M 2007), and 15% mental illness (Waddell C 2007), with incidence of child, adolescent, and adult internet addiction soaring (Block M 2008). Half of grade eight children do not have job entry literacy for math, reading and printing (National Centre for Education Statistics 2005), yet the education system continues to invest scarce resources on unproven and untested educational technologies. In his book “iBrain – The technological alteration of the human mind”, neurophysiologist Gary Small reports that children are rewiring their brains to not access frontal lobe, and poses the question “How will educators teach children with poor executive functioning and limited impulse control?” Whole school districts in the US are supplying every elementary aged child with TeacherMates (Fast Company April 2010), calling it the “$100 curriculum in a box” and referencing the teacher as a mere “moderator”. One has to wonder about the future longevity and rapidly changing role of the teacher. On May 3, 2010 I will have the opportunity to speak with 20 representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, and Children and Families in Victoria on the impact of technology on the developing child. During this “technology craze” period, educators might want to revert to tried and true teaching tools that are evidence based and backed by reliable and replicable research studies, and not spend dwindling resources on technology that is antiquated before the box is even opened.

Cris Rowan,

Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Cris Rowan, OT (Reg), BScOT, BScBi, SIPT, Approved Provider for ACTBC and AOTA
CEO Zone’in Programs Inc. and Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Inc.
6840 Seaview Rd. Sechelt BC V0N3A4
604-885-0986 O, 604-740-2264 C, 604-885-0389 F
websites: www.zonein.ca, www.suncoastot.com