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Child psychologist raises remote learning concerns

Posted at 5:43 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 12:54:27-04

GRAND RAPIDS — A new survey says more parents are not comfortable sending their kids back to school this fall.

Outschool, an online learning platform, surveyed 1100 parents and found 61% of them are not comfortable with sending their children back to school, until a vaccine is available.

Those results differ from the survey of local parents, done by the Kent ISD last month. Those results showed 62% of parents feel at least somewhat confident that a return to in-person learning is safe.

However, the Outschool survey found many parents weren't a fan of remote learning either, with more than half of them rating their kids' remote learning experience as average or below average.

Most of the parents also say their school still hasn't communicated a plan for bringing their child to school in the fall.

We spoke with child psychologist Dr. Randy Kulman, a leading expert on the issue of the use of technologies for improving learning in children.

"Kids with ADHD or learning issues or executive functioning difficulties ... very few of the kids said that they really liked it," he said. "As far as learning goes, the kids who did like it said it was because it was easy, and they didn't have as much work. But so many of them were really dissatisfied with what happened. and I don't blame them ... I don't blame the teachers either for that matter, because the teachers never had any time to prepare ... create a whole online program for kids for the remainder of the year ... Now they have a little bit more time in the summer, but still a lot of teachers not really prepared to do it."

"Sending your kids back to school is not only is the school part good for them, but it's part of the economy too. If you are trying to, if your kids are at home and someone needs to take care, you can't work or you can't work as effectively ... Oftentimes, the kid just got gobs of work to do. And sometimes the video that went along with it, and the parents would find (they had to) watch the video ... The kinds of kids that I work with who have executive functioning attentional problems, they were particularly affected by this because they're not organized enough to do it on their own."

Dr. Kulman says remote learning could leave some kids with developmental delay, and he encourages parents to keep their kids engaged in social activities with friends or spend time with family.

To view the full survey from Outschool click here.