Thank you for accepting our invitation to the ELIANT conference 2017:
Towards a healthy digital ecosystem: Values, Competences & Responsibilities
Last year at our ELIANT-Conference, we asked the question: What can we do to safeguard Freedom of Choice in Europe, when it is coming under threat in so many areas? This year our focus is on digitalisation and how it is brought into the educational system. Parents and education professionals are confronted with political decisions that encourage the integration of IT-Technology in early childhood provision, Kindergartens and primary schools – laptops and iPads are even being generously donated by companies. But has there been a broad enough discussion among parents and professionals, what scientific evidence is there of the benefits?
90% of all professional life will soon be dependent on digital competences. How should we prepare our children for this scenario? Do children need to learn how to handle electronic devices from an early age? There is growing social pressure to follow this trend. It is of course not difficult to explain and show a three year old child how to work with a tablet – especially since children love to imitate their parents who are frequently seen busy with their I-phones.
We might ask ourselves however why Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos decided to keep their own children away from these gadgets?
ELIANT gave its support to the online Petition of the German Waldorf Kindergarten Association. The theme drew a lot of interest but in our opinion not as much as the subject merited. We are concerned that the wellbeing of coming generations could be endangered by a huge worldwide experiment whose consequences are unknown. How does IT-Technology affect a child‘s orientation in space, time and within the analogue world? How is the development of empathy and key social skills affected? All these questions made us eager to learn more about the subject, invite high level experts to our conference and enter in-depth discussions about it.
Scientific evidence, practical experiences and valuable information will be shared during our conference through panel contributions and the seven different workshops on offer. We hope to encourage decision makers, professionals and parents to engage consciously and courageously with this issue and for all of us to learn how best to serve the healthy development of children.
We hope that our conference will provide opportunities for making effective partnerships, networking and planning future campaigns to benefit upcoming generations in Europe and across the world.
We are looking forward meeting you, discussing our concerns, hearing your suggestions and listening to your advice –
With best wishes for many fruitful encounters –