All week I’m talking about technology in our education system. There are some drastic changes that need to take place (and according to the Think Tank I was involved in sponsored by Dell, the entire system needs to be blown up). I’ll talk a little bit more about the system changes I can see being beneficial, but first I want to talk about what needs to happen at home.
A revolution in technology in our education system isn’t going to happen without Parent support. This was never so clear to me as it was during that meeting I’ve talked about a couple of times. Why would a parent be so against these advances in how our we get updates from our schools, or how our children get their homework done? It was mind-boggling to me! I think I get it though. It’s mind-boggling to me, because I have access to all of these technology tools. I have skills with technology that puts me above the tech knowledge that my children have. Not all parents have these same things.
The truth is MANY parents barely have enough tech skills to check their email. They fear that their children will know more about technology than they do, and what happens when they are able to abuse this knowledge? Obviously there are also financial concerns. Not everyone can spend $50 a month on high speed internet, not everyone has 5 computers in their house for 4 people. I get that. I really do. In these financial situations, it would be great if there could be equipment that can be loaned out from the schools in these situations.
Aside from cost, the other barrier is knowledge. This is the part where I usually say “If everyone was a computer expert, then I wouldn’t have a job”. This is my typical response when someone tells me that I must think they are an idiot for whatever latest thing is wrong with their computer. So, yes, not everyone can be a computer expert. For one, I’d be out of work, and for two, they can be pretty complicated things to understand. What you CAN learn, though, is the things you need to know to be ahead of your kids. This is the battle you will constantly face. I will try to give you the tools you need to face this battle through blog posts on my site, but you will need to be involved with not only what your kids are doing on the computer and their smartphones, but what they are doing in their lives.
You need to know how to block out the bad, and filter in the good. You need to know how to find out what your kids are doing. You need to know what kind of digital footprint your children are making. You can’t afford not to know anymore. Did you know that many kids have secret Facebook and other social media accounts. Sure you interact with them on the account you helped them create and you monitor it, but what happens when they decide they want to have an account that you don’t have access to. Do you know enough about technology to figure it out? When your child’s school wants them to create something using Excel, would you be able to help them with their homework? Computer knowledge isn’t just for the geeks anymore. As a parent it’s your responsibility to get educated and figure these things out, so that you can teach your children how to be smart about what they are doing online and on technology.
So, the best thing you can do at home is LEARN. Learn about the latest technology, learn about what kinds of technology your kids are using, and learn about how to teach your kids technology best practices! I’m going to hold your hand and write several posts on these, and as I see trends in kids tech usage, I’ll let you know about it.