Parent Survey on Kids and App Use

Friends, if you haven’t had a chance to complete the Balefire Labs Parent Survey about your kids using apps, there’s still time!  Thank you so much for helping us!


About karen mahon

i am a behavior and learning scientist. i hold an ed.d. in educational psychology and am trained as an instructional designer. i have spent more than 15 years working in education and instructional software design.
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2 Responses to Parent Survey on Kids and App Use

  1. Joe Thomas says:

    Karen, as someone with such an extensive educational background, what are your thoughts on the Rudolph Steiner methodology? Our oldest daughter is in 1st grade of a Waldorf School and we are trying to get a feel for the overall effectiveness of this type of school. One of their tenets is a distinct avoidance of electronic media and pop culture, relying more on a “back-to-nature” philosophy. I would love to know a traditionally trained professional’s point of view. Thanks, Joe

  2. karen mahon says:

    Joe, loaded question! First, I should clarify that I’m not “traditionally” trained either…in the sense that most educators are trained with a developmental approach to education (e.g., Piaget, etc.). I’m trained as a behavior analyst, in the tradition of B.F. Skinner, so my focus is on clear definitions of learning objectives and measurement of student performance with respect to those objectives. (This article might interest you:

    I am definitely not an expert in Waldorf, but I’ll share my understanding and my opinion. As you’re learning by now, the definition of effectiveness in Waldorf schools is quite different from regular public schools. And of course Waldorf schools have historically been…and continue to be…controversial. I know a several families who have sent their kids to Waldorf schools, some who have been very happy and some who have pulled their kids out and opted for Montessori or regular public school instead.

    There are some things in Waldorf that many people agree would be useful to be adopted by publics schools…such as early introduction of second language, how the teaching blocks are organized and some other structural aspects of how the program is run. Many also feel that Waldorf has sort of failed to evolve with the times. I think the anti-technology theme is evidence of that. And I do think the Waldorf approach is pretty extreme..I have met people who almost seem cultish about it, which is very different from those who subscribe to other philosophies, such as Montessori, who seem more matter-of-fact about it.

    The other piece for me personally (and I expect to be beat up for this) is that a number of kids who have gone to Waldorf schools are a little bit….well….odd. I’ve observed that they often have difficulty socializing with kids who are not Waldorf. Admittedly, my sample size is small, but we do have some friends who pulled their kids out of a Waldorf school for precisely this reason. The kids I’ve seen most successfully navigate between schooling at Waldorf and interacting with the “rest of the world” are those whose parents allow their kids to do non-Waldorf endorsed activities at home…such as watch TV, use technology, etc. This seems to help them relate to other kids they meet much more easily.

    So that’s just one person’s opinion and I think parents need to choose whatever works best for their children and their families. I’ll be interested to see what you think as you go along, Joe. I do know a number of families who love Waldorf and will never send their kids anywhere else. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly is a valued choice for some.

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