Advanced Digital TechnologiesNeuroscience

Digitalization of Classrooms: Analysis from a Cognitive Psychology Perspective

Classroom digitization promises to revolutionize education, but it’s not without challenges, especially from a cognitive psychology perspective. This article explores Sweden’s pushback on digitization, its benefits and drawbacks, the relationship between brain plasticity and writing, and concludes with the impact of digitization on education.

The Swedish Case: A Setback in the Digitization of Classrooms

Sweden, known for its advanced education system, surprised the world by reversing its focus on digitizing classrooms.

It had embarked on a plan to provide every student with a laptop computer in the hope of modernizing its education system and equipping students with the skills to thrive in a future digitized society.

Studies have shown mixed results when it comes to the effectiveness of technology in improving educational outcomes. Some studies indicate a positive impact, while others suggest that it could be detrimental to learning. Swedish Education Minister Lotta Edholm has warned of the risk that screens could create a “generation of functional illiterates”.

Additionally, concerns were raised about possible negative effects on children’s cognitive development. Overexposure to screens and overreliance on technology raised concerns about students’ visual health, emotional well-being, and attention span. Some experts also expressed concern about the impact on social skills and students’ ability to interact and collaborate effectively in non-digital environments.

Another factor contributing to the pushback in classroom digitization was the concern for educational equity. With the reliance on digital technology in the classroom, disparities in technological access and proficiency emerged among students from different regions and socioeconomic groups. This raised concerns about creating a digital divide among students. Meaning that those with limited access to technology would be at a disadvantage compared to their more privileged peers.

It was a combination of these factors, along with growing public opposition and a lack of convincing evidence on the benefits of digitization, that led policymakers to reverse their approach and adopt a more cautious stance. This illustrates the importance of proactively addressing the challenges and concerns associated with digitizing education and highlights the need for a balanced, evidence-based approach to ensure the long-term success of such initiatives.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Classroom Digitization

Classroom digitization not only brings innovation to schools but also offers several potential benefits, among which we can highlight:

  • Access to Expanded Educational Resources: Digitization provides students with instant access to a vast amount of online resources, ranging from e-books and academic articles to educational videos and interactive simulations. This enriches learning by offering a wider range of information and study.
  • Encouraging Participation and Collaboration: Digital tools allow for innovative ways to interact with educational content. This increases student engagement and fosters collaboration in the classroom.
  • Personalization of Learning: Technology offers the ability to tailor learning content and activities to the individual needs of each learner. Educational programs and adaptive learning applications can be adjusted according to the skill level and learning styles of each.
  • Technology Skills Development: In a digitized world, technology proficiency is an essential skill for future success. Integrating technology into the classroom helps students develop basic technology skills. These include internet navigation and, the use of productivity software and programming, which are critical in today’s society.

However, digitization also poses significant challenges such as:

  • Screen Overexposure: Excessive screen time harms students’ health and emotional well-being. Blue light emitted from screens disrupts sleep and can cause mental health issues.
  • Technology Dependence: Over-reliance on technology can diminish problem-solving skills and the ability to think critically. When relying on technology to perform simple tasks, such as math calculations or spelling corrections, students may miss the opportunity to develop basic, foundational skills.
  • Digital Divide and Socioeconomic Inequalities: Digitizing classrooms can worsen inequalities between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Lack of access to electronic devices or the internet at home can put some students at a disadvantage, creating a digital divide that hinders equal educational opportunities.
  • Distortion of Social Interaction: Overuse of technology in classrooms can hinder students’ social skills and communication abilities. Spending excessive time on electronic devices instead of interacting with peers and teachers may lead to missed opportunities for developing important social and emotional skills.

Brain Plasticity and Need for Writing

Studying the advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to talk about brain plasticity: a phenomenon that reflects the ability to adapt and change in response to experience and the environment. It is relevant in education because it underscores the importance of providing students with varied and enriching learning experiences that promote optimal cognitive development.

While technology can offer innovative ways to interact with educational content, handwriting is one of those fundamental educational experiences that exert a powerful impact on brain plasticity. Unlike typing on a keyboard, which involves a more simplified action, handwriting requires fine motor coordination and activates specific areas of the brain associated with memory, creativity, and emotional expression.

Neuroscientific studies have shown that when children write by hand, regions of the brain involved in letter formation and language production are activated. In addition, handwriting is closely related to the formation of neural connections in the brain, which can improve the retention of information and facilitate the learning process. In addition, it encourages individual expression and creativity, as it allows students to capture their thoughts and emotions in a personal and unique way. This handwriting process can also improve comprehension and information processing, as it engages multiple senses and promotes greater connection between ideas.

In summary, handwriting plays a vital role in children’s cognitive development and brain plasticity. It is a rich sensory and cognitive experience that stimulates diverse areas of the brain and promotes neural growth and adaptation. It is essential that handwriting remains an integral part of the educational curriculum, even in an increasingly digitized world.


The debate on the digitization of classrooms is complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Generalizations in different contexts will be detrimental to learners.

Although technology can be a powerful tool when used effectively, it is important to be aware of its limitations and potential side effects. Education must carefully balance the integration of technology with more traditional pedagogical approaches, such as handwriting, to ensure optimal cognitive development in students.

In conclusion, this is a decision that requires careful thought from a cognitive psychology perspective. While it offers several potential benefits, it also poses significant challenges that must be carefully and deliberately addressed. By maintaining a balanced and focused approach to student’s cognitive development, we can harness the power of technology while protecting the essential foundations of education.


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James, K. H., & Engelhardt, L. (2012). The Effects of Handwriting Experience on Functional Brain Development in Pre-Literate Children. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 1(1), 32-42.