Recently I have been thinking about the ways that we engage with technology in 'screen-time', wondering whether there is some way to conceptualise the different sorts of activities that we do.
One of the best-known frameworks for thinking about thinking and learning is Bloom's taxonomy. (A taxonomy is a framework for classifying, grouping or organising things.) In its popular form, Bloom's taxonomy distinguishes between the sorts of thinking processes that take place in learning. The lower-order forms of thinking are foundational for the higher-order tasks; educators ought to aim to ensure that students are engaged in the higher-order processes as well as the more basic activities.
What might a taxonomy of the use of Information and Communication Technology, or screen-time, look like? What are the lower-order activities? What are the basic and foundational processes, and what are the higher-order ones? I wonder if the following taxonomy might be fruitful for us to consider our screen-time:
Higher order Creation
Lower order Entertainment
What might an audit of your child's screen-time reveal? (What might an audit of our own usage reveal?) Obviously we do well to keep an eye on the total quantum of sedentary time with screens; face to face social interaction, physical movement, reading and other such activities must not be squashed out. However, a taxonomy such as suggested above might provide a more nuanced way to consider screen-time and even provide a rationale to redirect our children towards the higher-order activities.
For example, there are some games played by students that involve little more than swiping left, right, up and down; these serve to do little more than vacuum up time. There are others, such as Minecraft, that can be wonderful exercises in creativity. Of course, they may also be a colossal waste of time. Perhaps the best way forward when monitoring our children's screen-time is to look a little closer at what exactly they are doing, ask them to explain it to you, and discuss the relative merits of the activity with you.
At Inaburra, where we are seeking to utilise ICT as a tool for student learning, this sort of taxonomy can also prove helpful in pushing us to design higher-order tasks and activities for the students. There is lots more thinking to be done on this topic!