CoSN: Alliance for Childhood draws ‘unreasonable conclusions’

Here is the response from the Consortium for School Networking to the Alliance for Childhood report:

Tech Tonic, the recently released report from the Alliance for Childhood, is at its core deeply flawed. The report, like its earlier version (Fool’s Gold, September 2000) takes reasonable concerns about creating nurturing environments for children, but reaches unreasonable conclusions about actions to take.

We agree with the Alliance for Childhood that the lives of children today are “vastly different” and that our children face a “daunting future.” We also agree our children will “be faced with moral and ethical questions about the development and use of technology” like no other generation; and we agree that “how today’s children and youth respond to these questions will (largely) be determined by the education we provide them.” What reasonable educator or parent would not agree with the above statements?

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    However, we strongly disagree with the conclusions that technology inherently makes a less humanistic or caring or nurturing environment, and therefore should not be part of children’s environment. In fact, by using educational technology in appropriate ways we can and are enabling human connections. For example, through video conferencing between classrooms we can link children in the U.S. with children around the world to learn from each other. Likewise, we can improve writing via eMail by creating electronic pen pals. Similarly, we can create collaborative work environments with teams of students working together to collect scientific information. And, thousands of students now have access to advanced classes they would not otherwise have because of online education.

    Unfortunately, the Alliance for Childhood prefers to paint the world in black and white. Yes, technology can be misused. However, technology can also be a powerful means to transform learning. Rather than focusing on simplistic notions that all technology is bad, we should focus on how technology can improve learning.

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