FEB. 24, 2018 | The New York Times
To the Editor:
We applaud Naomi Schaefer Riley’s Op-Ed essay. As parents, we know all too well the screen-time struggles that families face. Yet, as researchers of computer science education, we believe that Ms. Riley overemphasizes the quantity of screen time while ignoring the quality and content.
We suggest that computer science is the opposite of mindless screen time. Computer science is the problem solving and critical thinking necessary to create and design with technology, not mindless consumption. We are concerned with earlier findings showing how students in underserved schools with high numbers of low-income students of color are often in “technology rich, but curriculum poor” schools — those filled with computers but lacking curriculum that fosters deeper thinking skills.
Fortunately, a national initiative, Computer Science for All, is addressing this digital divide by ensuring that real computer science is offered in all schools with well-prepared teachers. We fully agree that students shouldn’t be mindlessly swiping screens, but they should be learning real computer science and using technology to help solve societal problems.
JULIE FLAPAN, LOS ANGELES
Ms. Margolis is lead author of “Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race and Computing.” Ms. Flapan is executive director of the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools.