Students can distance learn on multiple devices, but is it too much screen time?

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 4:38 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Distance learning presents a new set of challenges for families and students during the COVID-19 crisis. Experts said it's about balancing your student's new routine and online activity.

Each school handles distance learning differently under guidelines from the school board. Hillary Greer is the principal of Westdale Middle School and she says one of her education goals at this time is genuine feedback, which is letting the student know of his or her mistake and offering solutions to fix it.

“Hey, you missed these problems because you did the order of operations incorrectly,” said Greer, explaining what genuine feedback sounds like.

The electronic platforms East Baton Rouge provides the schools will help teachers do that.

ONE-STOP-SHOP: Everything you need to know related to COVID-19

“The teacher may send a video out that reteaches order of operations and then give that child a few practice problems,” said Greer.

However, the middle school principal noticed another issue.

The problem was, not all students could access these resources,” said Greer.

Some members of the family were fighting over who got the computer first. That’s when Chromebook distribution came in. Greer even encourages students to use iPads when available because platforms, like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, are tablet friendly.

“We’re helping improve feedback, and teaching, and getting that new material to the students they missed during the closure,” said Greer.

But that sounds like a lot of screen time. Dr. Reuben Battley, a specialist in adolescence medicine at OLOL Children’s Hospital, says families need to balance this new routine with the essentials.

“We need to make sure they’re getting their sleep, so at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep,” said Battley. “We need to make sure they’re getting physical activity for the day.”

He suggests at least an hour of physical activity a day. He also says you need to schedule for schoolwork and family time. After all of that, everything else can be a bit more relaxed.

“Watching Tv, social media, Facetiming with family… work it in for the individual and the individual family,” he said.

Now, that doesn’t mean give up on rules all together. Battley says you should still monitor your child’s online behavior and routine. However, he says don’t forget to incorporate family activities, like movie night, to help mom, dad and the kids relax in these new routines.

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