As a parent, you probably keep an eye on how much screen time your child is getting at home and what they are doing on those screens. But what about the screens your child sees in school? Are what’s on those screens really helping your child learn? What about the data collected by such technology? Is your school district doing enough to protect your child’s data? If you’re unsure about where to start finding answers to those questions, the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, a part of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has a Screens in Schools Action Kit to help.
PTAs were often involved in bringing technology into the classroom, but as the use of technology in our society has grown, so has the effort to “monetize eyeballs” as well. Whether it is materials produced by industries with viewpoints supporting those industries or data collected on the students using software in the classroom, the use of technology has a host of potential issues that should concern families. The Screens in Schools Action Kit is a free resource to help you and your PTA start a conversation with your school district about the use of technology in the classroom. Among the items included in the kit are:
- A series of short white papers on the potential problems associated with technology in the classroom, including its effects on health and social-emotional well-being, as well as privacy and the misuse of student data.
- Tools for parents, including questions to ask about technology in the classroom, template letters to your school administrators or newspapers, and how to protect your child’s privacy rights.
- Tools for educators, including case studies, sample union resolutions, and information sheets about effective use of technology in the classroom.
- Links to additional reading material on the topic.
In addition to the Screens in Schools Action Kit, don’t forget about the programs associated with National PTA’s PTA Connected initiative and the resources available at the Data Quality Campaign on student data and privacy. Have your PTA start a conversation about classroom technology with your principal or superintendent.