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The Tech Tsunami continued from page 21
and keeping up. Veteran teachers may feel resistant to such rapid technological change, worrying that their tech-savvy students are more competent than they are at mastering and incorporating technologies into learning. While thorough professional development and exposure to various technologies may ease these concerns for teachers, schools are pressed to educate teachers about the tech they need to use in order to be successful and meet required standards.
Screen-time alarm bells
A plaguing concern for teachers (and parents) is that classroom technology amounts to yet another digital media distraction for kids who are already easily sidetracked by their personal devices. Numerous studies have shown that technology, specifically laptops, can distract a student’s learning and that of adjacent learners. The key, says Tillinghast, is to • Naturopathic primary care focus on creating an environment conducive to learning, no matter what tools are used. Ferguson believes that a strong teacher uses technology to improve their teaching, • Women’s health not replace it. “If you have a teacher who doesn’t have strong classroom management • Pediatrics and you insert technology into [the equation], it shows that the classroom is not strong and the technology has become a distraction. That’s why we believe that a New location in Ravenna teacher should have an intentional purpose for using technology, or not,” says Ferguson. In the long run, if used purposefully and well, technology should amplify 206-363-5555 strong teaching and learning. oneskyfamilymedicine.com Among the myriad challenges and concerns parents face related to technology adoption and use in education is the amount of screen time their kids are subject to at school and at home. Both private and public school educators I spoke to consistently say that they communicate to parents that there needs to be a clear 1 12/14/18 11:16 AM distinction between screen-time priorities at school and screen-time diversions at home. But that’s a tough balancing act for most parents, especially since it is no longer so easy to distinguish between “game time” and “homework time.” Now that learning games are increasingly becoming a valid, assigned aspect of classroom instruction, Tillinghast likes to coach parents about where your student studies at home and how that location will enable you to provide the most attentive and appropriate engagement during homework time. Another concern that parents often voice to Tillinghast is not having sufficient tangible evidence of what their kids accomplish at school. For hundreds of years, worksheets with a grade marked clearly at the top have provided documentation of students’ progress, notes Tillinghast. Now, with networking programs such as OneNote and public school platforms App you’ve been waiting for... such as The Source, grades, assignments and communications are recorded digitally, and parents must access and familiarize themselves with those platforms in order to best understand how their kids are doing in school. “When we talk [as parents] about what kids are doing during the day, it is a lot more complex and different than what we envision a school day looks like,” says Tillinghast. As parents, we must wrap our brains around the role of technology in school, how our students are empowered by technology to expand their learning and how, as families, we need to manage device time, says Tillinghast. It is a crazy, ever-evolving tech world; teachers, parents, students and school administrators are all called upon to adapt with flexibility and initiative to a rapidly shifting environment. How fully integrated technology has become in the school curriculum, how it will continue to be and how it will enhance learning over the long term remains to be seen, but until then, parents can only watch and discover for themselves. ■ 6/1/15 10:14 PM
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Rebecca Hill is a freelance writer who ruminates on issues related to education, literacy, libraries, parenting and science.