NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you have school age children, chances are the subject of technology and how much time your kids spend engaged on smartphones and computers has been a topic of discussion.
Following a presentation to parents and educators in Williamson County of the new documentary “Screenagers,” in which parents and experts dissect the negative impacts of screen time on young minds, News 2 looked at how technology is used in local classrooms.
Our search for a learning environment absent of computers led us to Nashville’s Linden Waldorf School off Hillsboro Road.
Enrollment is approximately 200 students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.
Students learn math, reading, and science skills through interactive lessons and hands-on projects.
Classes like woodworking, music, and sewing are used to reinforce academic concepts.
In Catie Johnson’s classroom, she has a blackboard, artwork on the wall, benches instead of desks, and textbooks handwritten by her students.
Johnson says without iPads and computers, students collaborate with one another.
“Without a computer they don’t run to the Internet to look something up. They have to grapple with it and figure it out,” she explained.
Waldorf curriculum was developed about a 100 years ago, but the schools have received more attention as technology has become more accessible.
A New York Times article in 2011 examined the number of technology executives in Silicon Valley, California, opting to send their kids to no technology Waldorf schools.
But in most schools, technology is utilized in some way or another.
We also observed students at Harpeth Hall. The all girls schools was one of the first in Nashville to equip every student with her own laptop.
Molly Rumsey, director of library and information services, has been instrumental in that process.
“As a teacher I can’t have all the answers, but technology connects me to resources and to people that I wouldn’t if it was just face to face in the classroom,” stated Rumsey.
Rumsey spoke to News 2 in the school’s “Design Den”, where students use computers to design projects and then create them with different tools.
“It’s different then it was when you and I went to school,” she says. “And it should be. The tools are different, so the teaching should be too.”