“Let's think about the place of digital technology in education”

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Our collective for sustainable digital education brings together teachers and management staff from primary, secondary and higher education, wanting to rethink the place of digital technology in education. Today, schools are generalizing the use of digital education by increasing the screen time of students who are already overexposed. We have to put an end to this digital enslavement in order to calmly think about their future and the future of our institution.

Read Caroline Janvier's column, in December 2021: Article reserved for our subscribers “Excessive exposure of children to screens could be the evil of the century”

In this perspective, we propose some ideas to encourage constructive reflection. The age at which smartphones are purchased is getting younger, and the proliferation of portable connected items in homes is contributing to the increasing exposure of children and adolescents to screens.

Our students come to class tired and find it difficult to concentrate, especially because they stay up late in front of their screens. It seems to us that their language skills are affected, but also their thinking, analysis, synthesis and imagination skills. There are many students whose mental suffering is increased by exposure to inappropriate content, often violent, and online harassment encouraged by social networks.

In this context, our students do not have the same life as previous generations. We ourselves, their teachers, connected adults, take advantage of the possibilities offered by digital technology as a professional tool, and our practice differs from that of our predecessors. However, unlike our students, we had our childhood and youth protected from individual screens.

Digital loneliness

Where digital technology offers our students endless possibilities for virtual and passive entertainment, stealing time they could otherwise spend on reading, playing sports and real social interactions, perhaps at their age we have become bored and are looking for sources of entertainment ourselves. Therefore, we believe that the school must play a key role in getting students away from the screens that imprison them. The school must be part of a comprehensive awareness and prevention campaign about screens and their use in order to protect students from excessive exposure that threatens their intellectual development and emotional balance.

Also read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers Attention, sleep, language disorders… “Multiplication of screens leads to large-scale decerebration”

Paradoxically, schools need to take control of extracurriculars: when our students spend more time in front of a screen than in the classroom, their education essentially takes place through the digital solitude of social networks and the shows they watch. This results in a systemic risk that endangers the mental health and critical thinking of future citizens, as well as the future of our democracy. More privileged families offer their children extracurricular activities that open them up to the world.

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