Instructional technology is one of many educational tools to help students engage in personalized learning. Student devices supplement traditional tools such as books, outdoor exploration, pencils, pens, and paintbrushes. Some areas that may be of concern to families are addressed below. Please talk with your child's teacher or school principal if you have any concerns.
Eye Strain and Ergonomics
Digital media is changing the way we learn and communicate. While there is no medical literature providing evidence of eye strain in the use of technology for educational purposes (research is heavily focused on television and passive screen time), the following recommendations are provided to limit or prevent eye strain or ergonomic injuries:
- Adjust the brightness of your device.
- Change the background color from bright white to cool gray.
- Adjust your screen so it is directly in front of your face and slightly below eye level.
- Keep hand held devices a safe distance from your eyes and just below eye level.
- Adjust your chair, desk or device to always work in the neutral posture. Your body should be supported by a chair, feet firmly on a surface, head balanced (not tilted to far back or forward), elbows angled at 90o, and wrist and hands level with forearms.
Everyone has a right to privacy. Students are taught to think carefully about what information is appropriate to share with others including personal information, passwords, and pictures. Students are taught that is never acceptable to use digital tools to bully, spread gossip, or plagiarize work. If you or your student is aware of cyber-bullying behavior, you may report anonymously by calling 541-757-5724 or by contacting your child’s school.
Students’ curiosity and access to personal technology makes it important for parents to monitor their child’s use of technology at home and reinforce digital citizenship practices taught at school. Students in upper elementary or middle school grades may bring their device home for homework or projects. A family information night is typically hosted at each school to provide more information about student devices and expectations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has emphasized that not all screen time is equal and the benefits of these devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be a great benefit to learning. The bulk of research about the negative effects of screen time is related to passive screen time, primarily television. Tablets, laptops, and desktop computers are some of the tools available to our students and screen time is generally comprised of interactive learning activities and content creation.
At home, parents are encouraged to monitor screen time including television, computers, and personal devices. Experts recommend that parents set limits on screen time and make sure that use is intentional and supports your child’s learning and development.
- Model and reinforce good digital citizenship, including screen time limits.
- Move technology and screens out of bedrooms.
- Require children to use technology in a public room and monitor activities.
- Preview applications and websites used.
We encourage parents to teach students to set good boundaries with technology use at night. Studies show that use of technology in bed can lead to health concerns including obesity, depression, and sleep difficulties. Guidelines for parents include making sure that children turn off technology at least one hour before bed and moving technology devices out of the bedroom.
Wireless Access Points (Wi-Fi)
Our schools are equipped with wireless access points (Wi-Fi) for internet connectivity. Studies of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) exposure have determined no detectable health risk associated with low energy, low frequency EMFs. The level of EMF exposure related to the normal operation of a laptop/tablet device is similar to the exposure that a person would experience sitting beneath a light fixture. At this point there is no measurable health effect related to Wi-Fi and we will continue to monitor research.
The following organizations are good sources for information about health and safety concerns. Click on the link to visit their website.