Sunday, June 23, 2013

Technology in the Classroom

As a parent to an almost 7th grader, I wonder about the use of technology in the classroom and by the public school my son attends.  This article, strongly in favor of reduced screen time for kids has got me thinking . . . My child is not so fortunate as to be provided an iPad by his school.  Try as I might, I have not been able to get my reluctant reader any more interested in books on a Kindle, Nook, or other ereader than he is in reading a standard print edition. In fact, when given the choice between downloading his required summer reading onto the iPad or getting print copies, he chose the print versions.  So apparently, even my video game addicted kid still somehow knows that he will be better able to read and concentrate if he is holding the printed book in his hands. Yet he uses the online versions of the school textbooks that are available to him when doing assignments from home?!?

I also find it interesting that when given a choice between creating a PowerPoint presentation or an old fashioned poster display for a final school project, my son chose the poster. It seems to me that despite his knowledge and adeptness with technology, he still craves the tactile input that comes from holding a book or cutting out images and arranging them artfully on the display board.  Does he know that the use of PowerPoint is dated? Should I be concerned that he is not being offered more technologically savvy options for making his final school presentation?  Or should I be grateful that he still wants to use scissors and glue?

I will say this, what I consider to be the school district's lagging behind in the use of technology, makes me feel even better about my son's gamer savvy.  He is a self educated and well practiced gamer.  This easily lends itself to the ability and ease with which he picks up other forms of technology and how to use them.  In the ever growing technologically advanced world, I believe that being a gamer will only help him as he progresses through the academic world.

What do you think about technology in the classroom?  Do schools, especially public schools, not use it to it's fullest capacity? Are are they falling behind the privileged schools that are part of "pilot programs" providing iPads and laptops to kids?  Will we see a distinct difference between kids whose parents impose limited screen time and those who let their kids follow their gaming instincts?