Sweden is bringing more books and handwriting exercises back to its technology-heavy schools

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Associated Press: As young children returned to school across Sweden last month, many of their teachers had a new focus on print books, quiet reading time, handwriting practice and less time on tablets, independent online research and keyboarding skills. The return to more traditional learning methods comes in response to politicians and experts questioning whether the country’s overly digital approach to education, including the introduction of tablets in nursery schools, has led to a decline in basic skills. Swedish Schools Minister Lotta Edholm, who took office 11 months ago as part of a new center-right coalition government, has been one of the biggest critics of the mass embrace of technology. “Sweden’s students need more textbooks,” Edholm said in March. “Physical books are important for student learning.”

The minister announced last month in a statement that the government wants to cancel the decision of the National Education Agency to make digital devices mandatory in kindergartens. It plans to go ahead and completely end digital learning for children under 6, the ministry also told the Associated Press. (…) “There is clear scientific evidence that digital tools impair student learning rather than enhance it,” Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said in a statement last month about the country’s national education strategy. The institute, a well-respected, research-focused medical school, said: “We believe the focus should return to acquiring knowledge through printed textbooks and the expertise of teachers, rather than acquiring knowledge primarily from freely available digital sources that have not been vetted for accuracy.” “. To address declining fourth-grade reading performance in Sweden, the Swedish government announced an investment of 685 million kroner (60 million euros, or $64.7 million) in purchasing books for the country’s schools this year. Another 500 million kroner will be spent annually in 2024 and 2025 to speed up the return of textbooks to schools. Neil Selwyn, professor of education at Monash University in the US, said: “The Swedish government has a point when they say there is no evidence that technology improves learning, but I think that is because there is no direct evidence that technology improves learning. “Succeeds with technology.” Melbourne Australia. “Technology is only one part of a complex web of factors in education.”

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