Like thousands of other parents in Allen County, Jaret Wieland sends his children to a school district that has embraced electronic devices such as tablets.

The school-issued technology is used in the classroom as well as at home, including when inclement weather prompts an e-learning day, Wieland said.

This educational-related screen time has led Wieland and others to a realization: they are the first generation of parents facing concerns – including health effects and access to inappropriate content – related to this widespread adoption of one-to-one technology amid advice from medical professionals to limit screen time.

As public schools in Allen County begin the 2019-20 academic year this week, a member of the Parkview Research Center said it's understandable parents are raising concerns about the effects of technology integrated in education.

“Parents are right to start to question this,” said Michelle Drouin of the Informatics Team at Parkview Research Center. She added the educational technology “was rolled out without a lot of research.”

Statewide, more students in Indiana attend one-to-one technology districts – where each student is assigned a device, such as a tablet or laptop computer – than they did even three years ago.

An annual survey about school districts' technology plans shows 79% of districts offered one-to-one technology in at least some grade levels in 2019 compared to 63% in 2016, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

Locally, the one-to-one status is districtwide for East Allen, Northwest Allen and Southwest Allen county schools but only K-5 for Fort Wayne Community Schools, according to the 2019 survey. A few FWCS middle and high schools will be one-to-one this academic year, district spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.
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