Citizen Comment – Shannon Windsor – May 19, 2016

My name is Shannon Windsor. I have two children in the HCS system, one in elementary and one in high school. I have been very active in my children’s schools for many years, serving in various positions, including PTA president.

When the computers were issued 4 years ago, parents and teachers were repeatedly reassured that the laptops would be used as teaching tools in the classroom, not to replace textbooks or any other teaching method. We agree that having computers available for classroom learning is important in our current world of technology, but I feel it is vital to have a variety of resources, methods, and tools available, including textbooks in EVERY classroom!

As time has passed by, the laptops have been overused and now parents and teachers have been told , that with the exception of a classroom set available for check out in the library, ALL textbooks will be removed from the schools. If we already have textbooks in the schools, why not leave them for resources, rather than store them out of reach offsite?? The thought of NO textbooks being readily available to our students is hard to believe!!!

Children already spend too much time staring at a computer screen, TV, or other electronic device. Studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders and obesity. The amount of screen time isn’t the only issue with the student laptops. As a parent and substitute teacher, I see the daily struggles the children have with computer issues…computers not charging properly, students not being able to log on to Schoolnet or other programs, students being kicked off in the middle of a math or writing assignment and losing all their work to that point, or computers glitching and shutting down in the middle of a test…we saw quite a bit of this during End of Course exams and the ACT Aspire tests given in the last two weeks. There is SO MUCH valuable teaching time lost due to computer issues!

Teachers and students need to have a very high confidence in the digital curriculum and hardware provided that works properly and efficiently the vast majority of the time in order to do their jobs well and for students to be successful!

Computers should not be a hindrance or distraction to the learning process. Children have different learning styles and academic needs and a variety of teaching tools should be available.

In order to provide an exceptional learning environment for ALL, in the end, NO matter what methods or materials are used, the litmus test should always be “is what we are doing in the best interests of our students”?

Thank you!

– Shannon Windsor