Learning everything about the latest technology is akin to learning to swim or ride a bike, noted Kelsey Sheehy of US News, an American media company. “The younger you are, the more naturally it comes,” Sheehy added. While that is true, parents are more likely to feel troubled in keeping up with their digitally-skilled children.
Helping children with traditional schoolwork already poses enough challenges. But as schools start to use online platforms and e-learning devices, parents may feel intimidated or overwhelmed in learning the ins and outs of such technologies.
What Do Parents Think About Technology In the Classroom? (2018)
Mark Sparvell of tech company Microsoft found that 60% of US parents that have children aged 18 and below felt “optimistic” or “hopeful” about the role of technology in their kid’s life as they grow up, according to a poll by Microsoft Education YouGov. They also felt differently about it depending on where technology is being used.
When asked about its use between home and school, 63% mentioned concerns about their children spending too much time on devices at home. 85% believed technology in school (computers and educational software) would be helpful to their kid’s education. Speaking of tech, 50% of parents believed that coding and computer programming to be the most beneficial subject to their kid’s future employability.
However, 67% of parents were concerned that the government is not supporting their kids’ digital skills. When asked about the involvement of the tech industry, 75% believed that tech firms should be involved in helping schools build children’s digital skills.
Common Tools Used In the Classroom (2018)
Students across the globe use the following equipment in schools: whiteboard (73%), desktop (48%), smartphone (42%), blackboard (35%), smartboard (33%), IT suite (30%), and tablet (20%), according to a report published by the Cambridge Assessment International Education, the world's largest provider of international education programs and qualifications for 5 to 19 -year-olds.
In the US, 75% of students use desktop computers, with 59% and 74% of them using smartboards and smartphones, respectively. 50% of Chinese students use tablets in schools. In Indonesia, 40% of students use an IT suite and 92% use whiteboards. In India, traditional methods prevailed with 67% of students using a blackboard.
In Spain and China, the use of blackboards and chalk were at 64% and 57%, respectively. Students in India were also less likely to use smartphones in lessons (16% versus the 42% global average) or to use whiteboards in their classrooms (52% versus the 73% global average).
The survey also found that 64% of students use a smartphone to do their homework while 65% do their assignments on a notebook computer, cited Larry Bernstein of EdTech, a K12 and higher education news website. The report concluded that teachers and students alike rely on technology to enhance the value of education. Technologies such as smartphones will be used along with pen and paper.
Why Are Schools and Teachers Utilizing Tech in the Classroom?
Adults use tools and programs because it is a critical part of their personal and professional lives, explained Kerry Gallagher, J.D. and Larry Magid, Ed.D. of ConnectSafely, a website that promotes safety, privacy, and security. With children, they are using technology in their educational and personal lives.
Kids need to learn how to properly and responsibly communicate via text, video, audio, and digital image creation because such skills are required in the present and future of careers. As children use technology for leisure and socialization, they need to learn how those digital platforms are useful and applicable in academics. They are expected to be skilled at using those platforms and navigating the internet to become successful students and to grow up as productive, well-informed adults.
How Can Parents Stay Abreast With Technology Use?
1. Find Out How Tech Is Being Used
You can ask your child how they leverage technology to perform certain tasks. For example, the internet is used to find and analyze sources. For students, they are expected to find out how to find credible sources and analyzing and reporting their findings.
You can also ask your child how to use a particular device, program, or website you are unfamiliar with. Mastery is not the goal since most individuals utilize some of the features offered in the device, said Monica Vila, founder and "chief technology mom" of The Online Mom. Be sure to pay attention to your child’s “lecture.”
Feel free to ask how your child’s instructor is leveraging technology in the classroom. Teachers may take advantage of multimedia content available online to supplement printed resources. To illustrate, your child’s teacher could ask them to watch a documentary about a historical figure or listen to an audio recording of an interview of that figure.
2. Converse About EdTech With Your Child
Chances are, your child is enthusiastic about EdTech but at the same time, they could have concerns surrounding its use. If they tend to struggle with tech use, consider asking, “When do you tend to get distracted by technology? How can I help you avoid those distractions?”
You can also ask how your child’s classmates or friends are misusing the technology and what they do or say when they do that. Help your child formulate strategies and responses they need to deal with these situations.
3. Show Enthusiasm and Communicate With Other Parents
Computers, tablets, and other technologies can help students move out of their comfort zones. "They bring out the extrovert in the shy kid. It encourages communication at a time when insecurity abounds," observed Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a middle school teacher from San Gabriel, California, who is producing tech webinars for parents at Tween Teacher. You can also talk to other parents to overcome your own digital insecurities.
4. Do Your Own Research
You can always do your own research. Googling something is a simple (but often overlooked) part of understanding technology and internet safety. If you have a high school-aged child, both of you should be aware that their posts online are permanent, and poor decisions can lead to severe consequences. Overall, Google has a plethora of resources on everything from toggling screensavers to learn about videochats.
5. Keep Your Child Safe While Using EdTech
Help your child learn to use safe and precise search terms to help them find the information they need online, minimizing the likelihood of exposing them to inappropriate content. It is also recommended to help your child maintain proper posture. Encourage them to take 30-minute rests to walk around and stretch their bodies before returning to their device.
Technology supplements traditional learning methods, allowing students to learn more about the subject being taught at school. Parents should learn how to use platforms as well as keeping their children safe from inappropriate material online.