On Wednesday, a new UN report expressed worry over the widespread use of smartphones and called for their prohibition in all schools around the world. The UN body for education, science, and culture, UNESCO, claims that excessive mobile phone use has an adverse effect on learning.
According to UNESCO’s report on technology in education, nations should carefully assess how they employ technology in classrooms.
It highlights the requirement for a “human-centered vision” in which digital technology acts as a tool rather than taking the lead.
UNESCO’s Manos Antoninis cautioned of the risk of data leaks in educational technology in an interview with UN News, noting that just 16% of nations have laws ensuring data privacy in the classroom.
“We know that vast amounts of data are being used without the appropriate regulation, so this data ends up being used for other non-educational purposes, commercial purposes and that’s of course a violation of rights that needs to be regulated.”
The inequities brought about by digital learning are also highlighted in the UNESCO report. Due to the switch to online-only tuition during the COVID-19 epidemic, half a billion students globally were left behind.
Geographically, the survey found that Europe and North America were significantly overrepresented in online resources.
UNESCO is pushing nations to establish their own guidelines for the design and use of technology in education, ensuring that it never takes the place of face-to-face, teacher-led learning and advancing the common goal of high-quality education for everyone.
“The digital revolution holds immeasurable potential but, just as warnings have been voiced for how it should be regulated in society, similar attention must be paid to the way it is used in education,” warned UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
“Its use must be for enhanced learning experiences and for the well-being of students and teachers, not to their detriment.”