Jul 23 2020

Q&A: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek on Finding the Balance with Screen Time

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, talks about why being intentional with technology use is important.

Dynamics of digital instruction, learning outcomes and equitable access can be complex, with no one-size-fits-all approach. As researchers learn more about best practices, educators are tasked with putting their findings into practice — a job harder than it sounds. Now, districts are confronting new challenges around equity and screen time as they seek to deliver remote instruction.

We asked Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a faculty fellow in psychology at Temple University, to share her views on screen time.

This interview is part of a roundtable on how researchers and educators view screen time, digital equity and learning outcomes.

EDTECH: Research about the effects of screen time varies widely. How would you characterize this issue and the effort to balance technology in schools?

HIRSH-PASEK: When screen time is everything from homework to social media, it’s hard to sort out what people are really talking about. The distractions in some age ranges are going to be different than in others, and not taking that into account makes it tough.

That said, we’ve gotten some handle on use patterns. We clearly are at a point where everything’s been revolutionized by this new thing that’s come into our schools and our homes. We’re learning as fast as we can.

The problem is that the moment you think you’ve learned something, the technology changes. That’s about to happen again with augmented and virtual reality, so it’s hard to get arms around it. This is a matter of time and figuring it out.

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