Debbie Truong writes in the Washington Post about parents who object to teachers’ reliance on iPads in the classroom. Twenty years ago, the burgeoning industry asserted that Ed tech would motivate students and lead to higher test scores, but that promise was never filled.

Meaghan Edwards had just finished reading children’s books to her son’s third-grade class when the teacher announced that students could have free time before lunch. Instead of playing cards, talking with friends or reading more, the students pulled out their iPads.

“They were zoned out like little zombies,” recalled Edwards, whose children attended school in the Eanes Independent School District in Austin.

The school system is one of many coast to coast that have spent millions of dollars on initiatives aimed at putting computers or tablets in the hands of every student, sometimes as early as kindergarten.
Do kids learn more when they trade in composition books for iPads?

The largest school district in Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools, announced last year plans to provide Dell laptops to students starting in third grade. Less wealthy school systems have issued bonds to purchase devices, borrowing millions of dollars for laptops, iPads and Chromebooks.

But some parents in parts of the country where the programs are in place want to scale back, saying the devices are harming the way young children learn.

From Northern Virginia to Shawnee, Kan., to Norman, Okla., parents have demanded schools reduce or eliminate use of digital devices, provide alternative “low-screen” classwork and allow parents to say they do not want their children glued to glowing screens. Some families have even transferred their children to schools that are not so smitten with technology.

Maryland health and education officials released guidelines on using digital devices in school that include reminding students to take eye and stretch breaks and that encourage educators to offer collaborative learning assignments on and off the devices.