One of the daily struggles I have with my kids is also something that has brought so much amazing information into our lives: technology. On the plus side our family computer offers endless educational information online including homework and class photo websites. This includes software to help with school assignments such as creating essays using Microsoft Word, math and organizational lists on Excel and presentations using videos and Powerpoint presentations. It also includes news updates, how-to videos on everything (including videos that helped my kids learn skateboarding techniques) and endless humor that makes us laugh. The challenge is teaching kids to unleash the power of technology by using it to learn and create, but also mind screen time limits and social networking etiquette. I look at technology training as “the new talk” that all parents should discuss with their kids. I also think it is important to set up a proper homework workspace (that includes space for technology) to help kids get access to what they need to do homework.
Learning about technology at home also helps my kids with a background to use technology at school. My elementary school twin boys have a technology lab at school where they learn how to type, do learning games such as math facts, research for projects and create photo art. Their teachers have Smartboards that allow them to bring up electronic images or online sites as examples of the subjects covered in classroom learning. The bottom line is that I believe digital literacy is not only one of the important skills my kids need when they enter the workforce but also offers unlimited ways for them to express their creativity.
I am participating in a Dell program that is called #Dell Dozen (see disclosures at bottom of this post). Part of that program gives me access to information about technology and education. Just a few days ago they shared information about the day of innovation Dell hosted at MIT. While I could not be there, I found information that filled me in on the discussions – including a livestream from the Dell Innovation In Education Think Tank @ MIT and video segments from the NBC + Dell “Technology in the Classroom: What’s Next?” Town Hall @ MIT . One of the videos asked the important question: “Will Technology Transform Learning“: “Moderators Alex Witt and Chelsea Clinton sit down at the MIT Media Lab with 3rd Grade Teacher Susie Brooks, New Classrooms Co-founder Joel Rose, and MIT Professor Mitch Resnick, and an audience of K-12 educators to talk about how technology will transform learning and classrooms.”
Chelsea Clinton brought up the challenge that technology in the classroom should not be considered for just for math and science—but also for English, civics, languages, and history. The panelists also brought up many good points related to technology and education. I summarized some of their points bellow:
- Nothing more important then to learn to think creatively for all jobs. Not just information delivery but to think creatively to finish a project.
- It is important not to just drop ship computers at schools- it should be a higher delivery model to offer instruction for different kids.
- Technology is important for digital literacy and collaborative learning.
- Benefits are that technology breaks boundaries, goes across ages and disciplines. But it is scary for teachers to implement the new tech devices into the classroom.
- Technology helps with individualized learning so kids are not stuck in a curriculum by age and can tailor to their interests. For example, a kid who is bored by standard math at school can be fascinated by attaching sensors to roller blades to find out how fast they are going.
- Important to keep close eye on use of technology so as not isolate, make sure to balance with real life social interaction.
- Teachers should be the models of good learners, so Teachers need to adapt to new situations.
Dell also shared an info-graphic they developed on Innovation in Education. Some of the data included 85% of teachers said that technology allowed them to provide a more learning experience in class while 63% of students say the benefits of technology in classrooms outweighs the distractions. 71% of students say they have access to more advanced technology at home then the classroom.
My personal experience has been that I am thrilled that my kids can view interactive information on a Smartboard at their schools (which they find engaging) and my son with a writing disorder can use a laptop to type essays at class. But one of the big barriers is that not every school can get access to the technology and to give training they need (and deserve). Dell also announced their Education Challenge (that started September 13) that offers prizes and awards to help students put their ideas into action. DellChallenge.org is an educational innovation community “where university students, academia, primary/K12 educators, mentors, judges and fellow students from around the globe can network, share best practices and inspire each other to create educational change“.
What do you feel about the importance of digital literacy skills for your kids? Do you feel like technology in education creates innovation or distraction (or both)? Please share your thoughts.
Disclosure: This is not a paid post. I am a member of the Dell Dozen program that gives me access to Dell products. Part of the suggested activities of the program is sharing information about their initiates but my choices about what to post and my words are my own.