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EARLY YEARS: Kids need parental oversight, as they continue using technology during school year

Local school systems still utilizing laptops and iPads as support systems for classroom learning
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:22 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Kids and technology are typically fast friends.

And after the past year, technology has also proven to be an important tool for education.

When classes return later this month in Salem City Public Schools, students will reunite with their friends, as well as their Chromebooks.

“But it won’t be in exactly the same way, because we want kids to be able to navigate both in-person, but then have access to things beyond,” says Jennifer Dean, director of instruction and innovation, Salem City Public Schools.

All Salem students in grades K-12 have Chromebooks assigned to them.

Dean says last year, most kids- even the younger ones- acclimated well to online learning.

“Very impressive to see kindergartners in a Zoom meeting, talking with each other, sharing, teaching each other how to do vocabulary words. It’s very impressive to see,” says Dean.

Likewise in Roanoke City, the school system has learned the importance of student connectivity, and internet access at home is crucial.

Each student will be issued a laptop or iPad for school work.

“Of course, we want students in school and in front of us to get that strong instructional background to have that student engagement. Technology is part of supplementing instruction.,” says Archie Freeman, chief academic officer for Roanoke City Public Schools.

Supplementing the lessons taught in the classroom will be technology’s main role this year.

Using it effectively does require help from parents, too.

Rebecca Jackson is a brain and education expert, as well as a mom.

“So, I watched my 12-year-old struggle with getting assignments submitted. She thought it was sent. She thought it was turned in, and didn’t know to hit refresh and double check,” says Jackson, vice president of operations at Brain Balance.

As students learn online etiquette and the need to follow up on assignments, Jackson says overall, the experience is beneficial to kids.

“And honestly, it’s setting them up to live in the world and how we function. Kids now know how do to attachments, how to download. How to take a PDF and make it editable,” she says.

Jackson does remind parents not to let kids multi-task too much as they’re doing their schoolwork.

“That means, if they’re on a laptop or computer, they shouldn’t also have their tablet or phone nearby.”

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