PAA urges parents and others to take a moment whenever you see a mention of digital learning in your local newspaper to write a letter to the editor to help educate the public about some of the many concerns raised by EdTech.
Here’s an example, written by PAA interim executive director Julie Woestehoff and published earlier this week in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Feel free to “borrow” any of it!
As the heavy push for so-called “personalized learning” moves through Wyoming and across the nation, parents should be asking for an accounting of what digital devices and programs their children are using in school, how much time they are in front of screens, how much money is being spent and how effective these programs really are.
The national parent advocacy organization Parents Across America, which I head, recently published a major review of the many concerns surrounding digital learning. They show that there is actually very little research addressing its impact or information about how it is being used in our schools. What we do know is that online learning has an overall poor academic track record, and that children already need less screen time, not more.
We explained how digital learning products help the test publishers and others profiting from public education continue to control the curriculum and access vast amounts of student data. Meanwhile, students are spending increasing hours glued to computer screens and other digital devices, leaving less time for interacting with other children, adults or their own imaginations, all of which are necessary for success in school and in life.
While not against the appropriate use of technology in schools, we are concerned about technology use that reduces schooling to a data-mining computer game. Children need to master technology, and parents must work harder to monitor their children’s time on devices at home. But it is important, too, for schools, school districts and states to be cautious, diligent, transparent and accountable about their technology decisions in order to be sure that our children are safe and getting the best education possible.