At Fiat Classical Academy, we ask a lot of questions. Among these are, “Is it good, true and beautiful? Will it help our students, faculty and staff be more fully human?” When it comes to technology use in the classroom, we make our decisions based on what we believe is in the best interests of our students.
In the realm of technology, these questions have led us to prioritize face-to-face conversations. To foster this, we do not utilize a one-to-one device program, nor student use of devices in the classroom. We provide space for young men and women to interact without cell phones or other devices distracting them from true communion and connection. They are growing up in a world of impoverished communication, and Fiat Classical Academy is a refuge where authentic relationships can be formed.
This isn’t a risky move. In fact, research shows less technology use is beneficial to teenagers for a variety of reasons. Consider –
Researchers are exploring a plausible causal relationship between social media use and the 2023 CDC report finding that nearly 60% of teen girls “experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year.”
- Many Silicon valley executives send their children to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, which is a low-tech environment, prioritizing in-person communication and interaction.
- Researchers have explored the “brain drain” theory that hypothesizes the mere presence of a cell phone (in one’s pocket, purse, backpack, etc.) is distracting.
- In 2017, psychiatrist Dr. David Rosenberg showed a Detroit news station MRI images of the brains of children with internet addiction, in which decreased brain activity can be seen. “The brain shuts down and its executive functioning is not working,” said Dr. Rosenberg, comparing the brain “hooked on the internet, phones, or tablets” to a brain hooked on heroin.
- Maryanne Wolf, the director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, told Education Week in March 2023 that screen-based reading cultivates faster readers because students are “basically scrolling, word spotting, skimming, scanning.” She continued, “We know that print has advantages because it encourages the time-consuming deep reading processes. But in the future, we’re not going to have people like me. We’re going to have most people who are just digital natives. The question is: how do we get the brain to be a deep, empathic, critical, insightful thinker?”
- A compelling number of studies and research projects have found that students comprehend and retain material better when read on paper, make stronger brain connections when writing by hand, and have fewer distractions when a digital device is not in front of them in the classroom.