Find out what is INVADING your child's school and what you need to do about it!

It’s that time of year again (and I am not talking about football season lol)! It is time for all children 18 years and under to go back to school!

I believe that it is important that parents are very active in the development of their children’s mind. If you can help it, try to be there to help the teachers and most importantly, help your child maintain what they are learning.

With that being said, I know you are probably wondering “Well what does this have to do with what is invading the schools and classrooms”. My answer is TECHNOLOGY! Growing up, all I needed was pencil and paper for class or my elective was a computer course. Now, children are required (or it seems to me required) to have some sort of experience or understanding of technology or maneuvering through the internet. Then to top it off, phones are attached to every child's hands, ear or pocket.

In 2015, the National Center of Education Statistics provided information regarding the use of computers and the internet with school age children and to correlation to the educational barrier in the classrooms. They found that “two locations with the highest reported levels of internet access were at home (86 percent) and at school (65 percent)”. “About 88 percent of 8th-graders and 83 percent of 4th-graders reported that they used a computer at home, and 80 percent of 8th-graders reported using a computer for schoolwork on a weekday.” Although these statistics were obtained about 3 years ago, just image how the numbers have increased!

Although technology may be provided at school to help enforce and encourage learning, safety rules for the internet need to be reinforced at home (Teacher + Parents = Teamwork!)

Here are some guiding principles given by Office of Educational Technology that can help parents, teachers and students get the most rewarding experience from technology:

Guiding Principle #1: Technology—when used appropriately—can be a tool for learning.

This principle is probably more applicable for teachers. As an educator, you want to ask yourself the Three C’s: the content, the context, and the needs of the individual child, see the questions below:

1. Content—How does this help children learn, engage, express, imagine, or explore?

2. Context—What kinds of social interactions (such as conversations with parents or peers) are happening before, during, and after the use of the technology? Does it complement, and not interrupt, children’s learning experiences and natural play patterns?

3. The individual child—What does this child need right now to enhance his or her growth and development? Is this technology an appropriate match with this child’s needs, abilities, interests, and development stage?

Guiding Principle #2: Technology should be used to increase access to learning opportunities for all children.

Teacher and Parents can both take this principle for thought. Ask yourself:

1. Do children see different types of people, characteristics, and attributes?

2. Do children hear a variety of sounds, voices, and music?

3. Are a variety of situations being depicted (e.g. family structure, lifestyles, power/working relationships?)

4. It is important that these questions are considered across content, including in apps and other media. Taking these safety precautions will help in the development of the child.

Guiding Principle #3: Technology may be used to strengthen relationships among parents, families, early educators, and young children.

Technology can also be used to enhance relationships between children and adults and between children when distance or other barriers such as health prevent in-person interaction.

Guiding Principle #4: Technology is more effective for learning when adults and peers interact or co-view with young children.

There are many ways that adult involvement can make learning more effective for young children using technology. Adult guidance that can increase active use of more passive technology includes, but are not limited to, the following:

Prior to the child viewing content, an adult can talk to child about the content and suggest certain elements to watch for or pay particular attention to;

An adult can view the content with the child and interact with the child in the moment;

After a child views the content, an adult can engage the child in an activity that extends learning such as singing a song they learned while viewing the content or connecting the content to the world.

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