The technology train has left the station

On average kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend 11.5 hours a day using technology — whether that’s computers, television, mobile phones, or video games – and usually more than one at a time.

Dr. Gary Small, a neuroscientist and professor at UCLA says, “Young people are born into technology, and they’re used to using it 24/7. Their brains are wired to use it elegantly.”

He wants educators to know that “The technology train has left. You have to deal with it, understand it, and get some perspective.”

In terms of how technology can be properly used in the classroom, one well-liked teacher Dr. Small knows gives her students a five-minute texting break in the middle of class. Educators also use texting in class as a means to gauge understanding of the subject and take instant polls, for example.

Dr. Small also suggests carving out time for face-to-face emotional exercises and in-person conversations to counterbalance all the inevitable gadget-communication.

“We can train empathic behavior,” he said.

So the moral of the story? Embrace technology in ways that keep students engaged but also look for ways to enhance learning where technology falls short.

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