With schools forced to operate in crisis mode during the pandemic, EdTech profiteers have been peddling their products to districts and educators across the country, promising to spin straw into gold. The problem? Their products aren’t effective, threaten student privacy, and sideline teachers while exponentially increasing screen time.
That’s why last week, CCFC released A Statement on EdTech and Education Policy during the Pandemic, a call to action for educators, policymakers, and school officials to limit the use of EdTech for students in the coming year, no matter what school looks like. Our statement was signed by more than 100 leading experts in child development, education, and technology, including Sherry Turkle, Tristan Harris, Douglas Rushkoff, the Mass Teachers Association and the Network for Public Education.
And now, we’re making it easy for you to take action against EdTech in your own community!
Copy and paste the email template below and modify it so it fits your local situation. Email the template to other parents and teachers to gain support, collect signatures, and send it to school officials. Remember — there is power in numbers. If you feel you need more background or tools before meeting with officials, you can find them in our Action Network’s Screens in Schools Action Kit!
Dear [SCHOOL OFFICIAL],
We urge [SCHOOL DISTRICT] to commit to limited and intentional use of educational technologies (EdTech) during the 2020-21 school year. We recognize that the pandemic has completely disrupted education and that this year will include a significant amount of remote learning. However, remote learning does not have to equal online education, and we urge [SCHOOL DISTRICT] to prioritize hands-on, project-based offline learning, regardless of whether students are learning in school or from home.
We urge [SCHOOL DISTRICT] to use the principles outlined in Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s “A Statement on EdTech and Education Policy during the Pandemic” to guide pedagogy and purchasing decisions in the coming year. The statement – which was endorsed by 36 advocacy groups and 70 leading experts in education, child development, and technology – includes a summary of the research demonstrating EdTech’s ineffectiveness and how it harms students’ learning and wellbeing. It also includes these five principles to guide decisions about using EdTech during the pandemic and beyond:
● Limit screen time
● Embrace teachers and relationships over EdTech
● Maximize offline, hands-on learning
● Avoid hasty purchases of EdTech
● Understand and mitigate student privacy risks
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further. Thank you so much for your commitment to our children’s wellbeing during these challenging times.
Good luck! We’d love to hear from you about your experiences with EdTech and advocacy in your school district! Send us an email, or share your story on social media using #studentsbeforescreens.