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Friday, June 2, 2023

Swedish schools backtrack on screen use and return to textbooks

Has Sweden gone too far in digitizing schools? This is what the center-right government thinks, which judges the screens responsible for the drop in the level of the pupils. Sixty million euros will be released to re-equip classes with textbooks in a country where children are exposed to screens from nursery school.

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From our correspondent in Stockholm, Carlotta Morteo

Tablet in hand, a child controls a ladybug robot. “ We teach children about programming, and the fact that it is the human who controls the robot “, explains Pär Thunvnik is director of a kindergarten in the south of the capital.

There are no limits or recommendations on the use of screens. It’s a tool like any other at school. Moreover, this morning, the children are in the middle of a painting workshop, with paper, and staining colors.

We know what to do with screens, but parents are worried because they think we use them like they do at home: to watch movies, videos on YouTube… That’s consumption passive, here, we want them to produce things with “, he defends.

Tablet versus history-geography book

Upon leaving, Alexander, father of two young children, trusts the institutions: “ Maybe if we introduce young people to screens early, they will be less fascinated… because they always want what they can’t have “. Andreas is worried about his 13-year-old eldest: he can’t write by hand, he scribbles. He learned through a screen and tapping on a keyboard. He can’t read handwritten texts well either.

The use of screens actually varies greatly from one establishment to another, hence the immense difficulty today of really assessing their impact. ” We see that children learn less well with digital media. But it depends a lot on the teachers and the content! “, argues Annette Sundqvist researcher in pediatric neuroscience.

Will the return of the good old textbooks be enough to raise the educational level of young Swedes? The debate has begun.

>> To read also: Should we be inspired by the Nordic countries to be happy?

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