The Art and Science of Balancing Screen Time for Online Learners

Shefali Vasave | May 31, 2022 | 157 views

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In 2021, Class, a virtual classroom app that combines with Zoom, neared unicorn status after receiving funding from SoftBank Vision Fund II. But, with just 10 months and a string of top edtech U.S. investors to back it up, the app’s spectacular rise only speaks to the boom in online education in the past two years.

Online learning has changed. It went from centering around accessibility to becoming the primary delivery method almost overnight. So when it comes to screen time, this newest addition to our already screen-filled lives is uninvited. Especially for children, it only meant that screen time was highly monitored during lockdown. And that change came with struggles. Between configuring the technicalities of accessing online classrooms and figuring out how to engage students, teachers have faced an uphill battle all along.

There is plenty of research to suggest that too much screen time has negative health implications, but education has to continue at all costs. 2021 was full of stories of students finding creative ways of avoiding classes or not attending them. One 8-year-old found a loophole in Zoom’s app last year that locked her out of her Zoom class. Even Zoom’s technical team failed to find the issue. It led to a goose chase into discovering that the child was locking herself out by inputting the wrong password over 20 times.


Screen Time Vs Screen-Tied

Screen time has five types: television, video games, social media, music, and reading. The key is not just to regulate screen time but also the content that is being consumed. Technology may have evolved, but our ability to use it for long durations and to conduct sensory tasks like learning over the internet hasn’t. Between education, video-games, social media and TV, distribution meant calibrating what type of content should be consumed in order to reduce the negative impact.

Approximately 75% of all teenagers own a smartphone today. In addition, a majority of young adults report video games as their go-to activity in their free time. While research on the use of video games may be inconclusive, prolonged exposure is nevertheless known to rewire developing brains. There’s also a high risk to susceptible minds with regards to unfiltered and harmful messages from social media, which is a massive source of increased screen time for children and teenagers.

All these issues call for a meaningful control of screen time. But in a sea of endless information and uninterrupted content, how do you identify the right balance?


Culling Unnecessary Content

For educators, the aim is clear: to balance screen time so precariously that children do not lose their will to learn or play. Parents and educational institutions must identify the following objectives through the content they are letting their families consume:

  • Developing digital skills to prepare children for higher education and digital careers
  • Raising digital citizens that use online mediums to contribute to their communities
  • Exposing learners to new ideas and concepts in a safe context
  • Acquiring creative skills, interpersonal expression, and etiquette for engagement online

There is no dearth of educational content online, but it is important to achieve a balance between the educational and the entertainment consumption of learners. On occasion, both can be combined through interactive shows and programs that do not expose learners to addictive behaviors.

Designating screen-free times, activities, and even locations like meals, traveling, or bedrooms can help learners build a habit of controlling their screen time.


To Wrap It Up

There is no doubt that the pandemic provided online learning with a much-needed shot in the arm. This also means that screen time has exponentially increased. Thanks to both virtual schools and a complete lockdown on going outside, young learners were left with no option but to turn to their screens. Whether to connect to their peers, attend classes, or spend their free time, learners are faced with a barrage of screen time that can affect their ability to navigate a post-pandemic world. Parents and educators must take it upon themselves to lay down the guidelines that drive the harmonious use of electronics without encouraging total dependence on them.

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CLASS101 Announces the Global Consolidation of Its Subscription Service, CLASS101+

CLASS101 | December 08, 2022

CLASS101 (CEO Daisun Kong), South Korea's #1 online class platform, today announced the global consolidation of its subscription service, CLASS101+. In a phased rollout that had begun in August 2022, CLASS101+ had become available on three separate platforms – English, Japanese and Korean. Now, all three will begin sharing each other's class offerings via a globally-integrated product. This latest development is set to accelerate CLASS101+'s foray into the global online learning market, bringing its fast-growing number of subscribers and its 130,000+ registered creators all the closer. Breaking down language barriers is necessarily the most important key to success, and to this end CLASS101 is embracing Neural Machine Translation (NMT). Using this state-of-the-art technology, the company plans on gradually making available its 4,000+ classes across all its subscription platforms together with AI-generated subtitles in English, Japanese, and Korean. CLASS101's new language capabilities are unparalleled domestically, and so is its ability to internalize innovations in personalization and localization. Leveraging both the previously accumulated data and the expanded catalog of classes on offer, the company is actively honing its algorithm to deliver more accurate class recommendations on CLASS101+. Its machine translation capacity is being put to use for all aspects of UI localization, too. Together, these attempts aim to present a more personally gratifying learning experience to each and every subscriber. "CLASS101 aspires to build a world where people live doing what they love, and the consolidation of our subscription platforms and class content is a momentous step toward achieving our vision on a global scale, The number of subscribers from South Korea has been on the rise, and we're confident that our enhanced ability to serve global users would help us attract more learners from Asia, Europe and the United States. For all intents and purposes, CLASS101+ is now a wholly globalized service, and our hope is for both our subscribers and creators from around the world to inspire one another and discover new and unexpected possibilities for growth and development." Daisun Kong, CEO of CLASS101. CLASS101, in fact, has a proven track record of producing content that could reach a global audience. In the past, classes from such famed South Korean creators as InHyuk Lee and Lia Kim (from ONE MILLION Dance Studio) had been translated from Korean into English and Japanese. These translated versions ended up accounting for about 36% of the revenue generated outside South Korea. An even stronger case in point is the fact that a number of classes produced abroad and taught in English were purchased in South Korea without translation. Precedents like these indicate that the sheer desire to learn new skills, hobbies and knowledge has no boundaries, be it lingual or geographical. It goes without noting that CLASS101+ has a truly exceptional roster of internationally-acclaimed creators. Yehuda and Maya Devir, married Israeli comic artists, share how to create webcomics as enthralling as theirs, which have led to their building a community of more than 9 million followers. Kathy Nakajima is a pioneering Hawaiian quilt designer and a renowned media personality in Japan. Hisanori Yoshida, an announcer and an award-winning radio host, teaches effective communication skills. David Yungin Kim is a world-class audio engineer and a three-time Grammy winner who has recently released a class on song mixing. In its fully-evolved form, CLASS101+ will be offering 4,000+ classes in 3 different languages (English, Korean and Japanese) in 25 categories, including digital drawing, crafts, photography, and fitness. For $19.99 per month, subscribers can access them anytime, anywhere.

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