The transformation that technology is causing in society brings with it formidable challenges, also for education. Parents and educators wonder what the impact of devices and platforms will be on the intellectual development of a generation that is already born glued to screens. Advances, especially those related to artificial intelligence, can provide valuable pedagogical tools, but at the same time they raise questions whose answers are barely outlined before new questions arise. Children and young people are natives of a digital world in which they manage, at least technically, better than those who must guide them. But at the same time they are orphans in that area, exposed and unprotected, with their privacy one click away from going viral and an omnipresent concern for popularity.
Experts in education, youth and childhood moderated by the newspaper journalist Ana Torres spoke about these issues yesterday in Madrid, at the inaugural event of the Tendencias project, organized by EL PAÍS.
Mar España Martí, director of the Spanish Data Protection Agency, was “totally in favor of the use of technology”, but warned about the impacts it is causing on minors. And to avert these dangers—suicide is the main cause of death among adolescents—she advocated achieving a great consensus to reach a State pact and a law for the protection of children and youth. “There can be no ideologies in that,” she concluded.
Santiago Íñiguez, president of IE University, wanted to give an optimistic vision of the contribution of technology to education. “Online teaching gives more voice than purely face-to-face teaching to introverted students, who are often the most creative,” he said. “And it enhances learning much more by allowing for a much more individualized approach,” he continued. Of course, he vindicated the role of well-trained teachers because “education is a social process and requires personal assistance, we cannot leave children with Siri.”
Anna Bajo Sanjuán, global head of Social Impact at Santander Universities, also stressed the need to reinforce teacher training. “Educating teachers is essential to avoid possible resistance and promote new technologies,” she explained. And she added: “We are taking advantage of the meeting forums to help institutions in this training, how to take advantage of all these tools, get the positive side of them, beyond the risks.”
María Acaso, head of the Education area of the Reina Sofía Museum, emphasized the importance of the concept of visual sovereignty. “The time has come for us to decide which images we want to see and which we don’t,” she said. And she advocated that this digital literacy even extends to the use of images that seem frivolous to us, such as stickers, but in which, she recalled, a very different use has been demonstrated between men and women.
Mariano Jabonero, secretary general of the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), finally asked that progress be assessed in terms of return and well-being. “The largest investment in education has been the purchase of computers. But the question we must ask ourselves is ‘and what is all this for?’” he questioned.
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