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Central Texas schools embrace technology, try to limit side effects

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Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 22:35:27-04

After adapting to remote learning programs to the pandemic, technology has had a growing prevalence in education.

Central Texas schools are embracing technology, but also hoping to keep it from having unintended consequences.

"They're born with technology in their hand at this point," said Copperas Cove Junior High assistant principal Kelly Thompson.

Thompson said in order to balance the benefits of using technology as a tool with the distractions it could cause, educators are ensuring students stay on track,

"They just have to be vigiliant and keep an eye on the classroom and make sure kids are where they're supposed to be," Thompson said.

Copperas Cove ISD and Waco ISD, among most Central Texas school districts, now provide more tech in the classroom than ever before. Many schools now offer a one-to-one technology programs that provides a device for all K-12 students.

Cesar Chavez Middle School principal Pedro Hernandez said teachers and administrators set clear expectations for students.

"Cell phones are a tool, and they're not to be used lightly," Hernandez said. "We just have to prepare our students to be productive members of society."

Many teens are tossing aside Facebook and Twitter for TikTok and now a new app called 'BeReal'.

Thompson, who has teenage children of here own, said regardless of the platform, expectations remain the same.

"We just have to be consistent with what we're expecting from children," she said.

The effects on learning extend well beyond the classroom.

Dr. Taha Ansari, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Baylor Scott & White, said his biggest concern with students and social media is the risk of addiction.

"If you look at TikTok or Facebook, you scroll up, there's new content each time," Ansari said.

He said parents need to set limits on use of technology at home, depending on the content and quality of the media they consume. He also supports schools using technology and teaching balance.

"Schools should incorporate digital media," he said. "How to use it the right way."

Districts are hoping to do just that by teaching kids how to use tech to improve their education instead of impairing it.