Bridging the Language Gaps in U.S. Schools

“About five million K-11 students in the United States do not speak English fluently and their numbers are growing fast. While these students currently make up 10 percent of the total student population, researchers estimate that they could make up as much as 40 percent by 2030.

Schools around the country are turning to technology to help them better serve these students (and their parents) – whose success will increasingly drive graduation rates, test scores and other school-quality metrics – and to help connect with their families. In the classroom, computer-based programs can give students additional support as they work to master the vocabulary and mechanics of English. ELLoquence, IStation and PreK12Plaza are among those that let students move through lessons at their own pace (this is not an endorsement from TechtoExpress).

Many more schools serve immigrants now than ever before, and digital technology can offer effective ways to reach them (Tara Garcia Mathewson, NY Times, 4/8/18).”

Ray Myers

Tech Poor Substitute for Personal Interaction

Now who doesn’t know that?  But unfortunately many parents seem to feel that unrestricted or unlimited computer/internet time is part of a child’s life in the digital world.  It doesn’t have to be that way say many leading clinical psychologists.  It is interesting and good to be curious about other people, to learn how to listen.  Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction.

Perhaps most discouragingly, heavy use of electronic media can have significant negative effects on children’s behavior, health and school performance.  This “overexposure,” particularly with regard to simulated violence, common in many popular video games, can result in children acting more violently themselves and less likely to behave emphatically in a more positive way.

Less screen time, more interpersonal activity with peers, family, care-givers seems to be the best antidote.  This does not mean we have to take away all the digital devices and toys.  We should just ensure that spending time with peers and caring adults does not suffer.

Ray Myers