Review Blog

Feb 02 2018

Screen schooled by Joe Clement and Matt Miles

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Black Inc., 2018. ISBN 9781863959995
(Age 16+) Subtitled: Two veteran teachers expose how technology overuse is making our kids dumber. The promoters of educational technology claim that it will create a generation of 'digi-learners' who can multitask, explore a wealth of online information and become independent learners. Secondary teachers, Joe Clement and Matt Miles have concluded that this claim is a myth. In Screen schooled, they argue that excessive screen use is harming students' intellectual and social development.
The authors have collaborated to create the impression that the book is the work of one writer. They begin their argument by directly addressing their intended audience of parents and teachers in the style of a motivational speaker. However, this attention grabbing device is followed by well-organised chapters, each of which focuses on what the authors believe is a particular outcome of computer use. These outcomes include a reduction in the ability of students to concentrate, memorise, engage in critical thinking, use their imaginations and develop social skills. The authors also examine the issues of addiction and social isolation, as well as social media's potential for adversely affecting mental health. Clement and Miles build their case for limiting screen time, by combining their experiences as educators with evidence from social and scientific research. Sources are listed in a comprehensive bibliography. Readers who favour the use of technology in education may wonder why the authors focus on reducing exposure to computers and mobile phones, rather than finding strategies for using them to enhance learning. Others may consider that technology is only one factor affecting young people who are trying to cope with the complexities of modern life. However, Clement and Miles have made their agenda clear. They are not opposed to technology but feel compelled to draw attention to what they consider to be the damaging effects of its misuse.
Screen schooled is a thought-provoking examination of the role of digital technology in the lives of children and young adults. It urges parents and teachers to reappraise the use of computers in education.
Elizabeth Bor

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