Screen Literacy for the Next Generation

I recently came across an article posted by a classmate titled, Screen Literacy for the Next Generation. As an aspiring educator, I immediately became interested in this post.Today’s young children, from birth through age 8, are spending an average of two hours and 16 minutes with screen media on a typical day. More than a quarter of their screen time comes from playing on computers, video game consoles, cell phones and iPad-like tablets. The average age for first-time use of a computer is around 3-and-a-half years old.

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There is no question that screen literacy is rapidly increasing in our society. The humanities and arts are significant and do indeed matter. It seems as if the issue arrises in mixing both screen literacy and actual reading skills. Since technology has taken such a toll on education, being skilled in both areas is important for children. Years ago, a child had to be taught reading and grammar skills. There never came up the subject of this idea of ‘screen literacy.’ Today, it seems as if there is no getting around it. The question is if “screen time” is educational or not?

“Our kids read and write more today than at any point in human history. They might not read novels and produce letters and books, but they do “read” texts, blogs, headlines, they listen to stories on YouTube or navigate stories in video games, and they “write” posts, and emails every single day.” (Henseler) It is important for children to not only grasp the concept of things happening not only off the screen but also behind and in front of the screen. Visualization expands our children’s understanding of content and shapes their outlook for the future. What do you think about the importance of screen literacy in a child’s education?

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14 thoughts on “Screen Literacy for the Next Generation

  1. There is no way around the fact that technology and the screen literacy is a force that won’t slow down. I prefer the organic nature of a book and pen on paper but thats not how the newer generation operates. We consume information on a level unlike other times BUT we consume it so poorly that its almost counterproductive. Reports show todays readers have an online attention span of 6-8 minutes before stopping and only tend to read the highlighted or bolded parts anyway. So we consume more but absorb less. And I wouldn’t let those people downplay the coding thing. I took a class on that stuff and its super tricky.

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  2. This post was very useful to me as an education major. Everyone thinks that kids are not reading and writing like they used to, because they aren’t. Reading and writing is now done on screens instead of in books or on paper. I do think that grammar skills and comprehension skills are lacking because of this, but I think if educators use how kids today are reading and writing we can change our approach for the best learning strategies. I think the video really helps to reinforce that too. You don’t have to be a genius to do these things you just have to try.

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  3. Agreed with all of the above, also as a future educator this is a huge reality that we all have to come to grips with. While it does not have to be an excruciating experience, I agree with sulli130, I too prefer the “old school” ways of learning how to read and write, and I would much rather have an actual textbook than reading online. Having been in various preschools and other grade level classrooms I can say from first hand experience that as a preschool center the children are fighting over who gets to use one of the iPads, and they all clearly know how to use them. I’ve been in second grade classrooms where the students FaceTime each other before their school day starts. This is just the way the world works now, and we have to use it to our benefit, because there definitely are many!

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your post. As a future educator myself I see how much time students spend in front of a screen. From the Smartboard in front of the class to the tv and their tablets. To answer your question, yes i believe screen time can be educational, but like many things it is good in moderation. There are many educational games on tablets and Smartboards today but the time children spend on these technologies should be monitored so that they don’t effect the other skills they should be developing.

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  5. I am also an aspiring educator of children birth through age 8 and I am really glad that you shared this. I have mixed feelings about screen literacy today and I think thanks to this class I am beginning to see that it is all inevitable and the past is well just that, the past. Part of me will always miss the way I learned and I think as a teacher adapting to the future is one of the more difficult tasks, yet the most important. I recently did an in depth study of infants and technology and the results were horrifying. I know that technology can help, if used correctly and screen literacy is just as important as reading and writing in the traditional way, HOWEVER, I need to be an advocate for the infants and say that their brains are not fully developed and they should not be getting any screen time whatsover. Parents today are just handing toddlers their Iphones and plopping them in front of Sprout and it really is doing more harm than good. There is a time to learn to become screen literate, I just dont think it should happen until the brain has developed.

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  6. Screen literacy is something that is becoming so popular among young children, it is actually hard to get them to pick up an actual book! I like many that commented above, have mixed feelings about the subject. There is no way to deny or slow down the speed of technology. But I feel as though children are missing out on the generic book. For example, Dr. Seuss – who wants to read that through an ebook? Dr. Seuss is something most of us grew up on and many children are still growing up with. The concept is in the pictures, the written text, the bubbly letters, it is visual and when I say visual, I do not mean on a screen. Technology and the idea of screen literacy is also allowing kids to grow up much faster than previous generations, everything is at the touch of a button. Technology aside, we have parents to blame for some of it – technology is used as a distraction to get their children to relax, stay quiet, or occupied. Granted, it has its benefits and learning tasks but at the end of the day, it should be limited to a number of hours and times of the day. I also believe there is an age where screen literacy becomes more apparent than text literacy in books but that is not at such a young age. Pick up a book!

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  7. I think that screen literacy is a great thing, but it can be harmful if used the wrong way. I think that using technology is something that we do need to embrace, but there should be a limit to it. I have nieces and when I go over to visit, they do not even say hello to me because they are too busy playing on their tablets. They are too young to be on their tablets for al hours of the day. I also agree that it should not be used for infants. Children need to be active, and get their energy out not playing on a screen. Screen literacy is becoming crucial to fit into society, however I do not understand why we have to start them so young. As a future educator, I think that technology should be used in the classroom, but there are some limits that have been broken. By using the iPads during class, they must be used for educational purposes and the students get distracted very easily on an iPad rather than if a worksheet were just sitting on their desk.

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  8. I think screen literacy is something that is required in today’s society. Society is constantly evolving and becoming more dependent on technology. It is unfortunate that kids are less likely to pick up an actual book such as Dr. Seuss. Technology literacy should be learned because it is one of the ways society functions now a days. However, I think it is important that kids also learn literacy off the screen. I think both should be kept at a balance and learned individually. Screen literacy should be learned so that a child can adapt to the fast moving pace of the ever growing monster of technology. Actual literacy should be learned so that a child knows how to take part in what we know as screen literacy.

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  9. I agree that screen literacy is rapidly increasing in our society. It seems like you can’t go out to dinner without seeing little kids playing on some little screen, or children wanting to play games on the computers and tablets in the classroom. I find it absolutely absurd that “The average age for first-time use of a computer is around 3-and-a-half years old.” I completely disagree with this, and I think they don’t need to be introduced to these things until later in life.

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  10. When I was a kid, I played with tape recorders and little Barbie dolls. There were no tablets, phones, or smart devices around, and the fact that 3 and a half year olds are relying on these devices for fun kind of disgusts me. What happened to playing outside and running around the yard? I know that screen literacy consistently continues to grow, but there’s no reason why it has to be popular amongst young children. This is on the parents for the most part, but I also believe that the environment is constantly promoting these devices to young audiences. Your post really opened my eyes to the growth of screen literacy. These children aren’t experiencing the feeling of turning a physical page in a book, and that makes me feel pretty sad.

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  11. You are right that screen literacy is something rapidly effecting the children of today’s culture. As a future educator myself, I see the use of technology embracing our classrooms. Because our culture is so dependent on technology and screen literacy, it seems only right that our children learn from this. Textbooks are becoming outdated and iPads are being the main form of “text.” I think some parents do take advantage of this technology. They seem to put their child in front of the computer to keep them quiet. This is hardly helpful at all. It is only damaging their communication skills. Like everything, technology is good in the proper doses. It is up to the schools and guardians of the children to ensure this is supervised.

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  12. It may just be the fact that I am stuck in the way that I was taught but I feel that children should learn how to use technology just like our generation has. I feel that would give them a chance to develop and grow as children should without the influence of technology, they should learn to use it in grade school, and at that point they would not be learning on technology that will be obsolete by the time that they would be actually using it but rather learning on what is new technology at that moment in time.

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  13. Technology is here to stay. Our generation may hate to see the change taking place in education but there is nothing we can do to change it. Screen literacy is a form of literacy and as a future educator I know the only thing I can do is embrace it and help my students be the most screen literate children out there. Our job as teachers is to provide the best education for our students and to help prepare them for the future. The future is technology- so that is what we should be teaching and we should allow it to help aid us in our teaching.

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  14. I really enjoyed this post, being that I want to be a teacher, then a principal, I think this post made me realize that as teachers, we are constant learners as well. We have be able to know our learners learn so that we can be able to teach them properly and most students are able to

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