These days, technology is everywhere. We may not have self-driving hover cars yet (come on, 2020!), but when taken into consideration, our lives are pretty 'futuristic.' We can video chat people on our iPhones, we can dictate text messages, and they even make communicator watches like James Bond had in his heyday.
What does this mean for future generations? Well, each coming generation is going to need to be more and more tech-literate. Some school districts spend millions upon millions to get iPads for their students: Technology is a near inescapable part of our children’s generation. As such, it’s important to make sure your kids are tech-literate -- after all, the earlier the better!
Tech at home
These days, it’s not uncommon to see a baby or toddler working an iPad -- kids start at an increasingly younger age to learn skills such as using a touch screen. Older kids can use programs like Mouse Practice to start picking up the old point-and-click techniques -- and there are also tons of fun game-based typing tutorials available online. Art programs are another fun way to introduce younger kids to computers and other outfits of technology -- it’ll help prepare your kids to create their own vector art when they get a little older.
Tech in the classroom
Now that technology is more widely available for most students, many classes are incorporating more and more technology to their curriculum. Students learn applications like Excel, which is useful in almost any professional setting. Interested students can even participate in specialized magnet programs where they get a professional-level training in tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. And of course, the Internet has been used as the research method of choice for the better part of the last decade.
Technology and the future of education
Already MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are having an effect on how traditional classrooms are being run: many classes are taking on the MOOC model -- lectures are watched online at home, and class time is more efficiently used for teacher-supervised group projects and one-on-one student-teacher time. It actually makes a lot of sense -- if the teachers aren’t spending the whole period lecturing, they can spend more time with each student, and make sure each child’s needs are being met.
And that’s just one example -- technology offers such easy access to almost limitless knowledge that it’s difficult to list all of the benefits. With the widespread use of tablets and computers, some schools are even doing away with textbooks -- using material accessed online saves money and trees. In fact, computers are to textbooks what calculators were for slide rules.
It’s certainly the wave of the future. Getting your kids on board earlier will only seek to make their path easier -- learning tech from an early age will give them an edge in almost every avenue. By the time they reach adulthood, it may even just give them that extra push they need to secure that cherry first job!
However, you should also read some cons about use of technology by young children.
(*) Vera M. Reed is a former educator and current writer, editor, researcher and designer living in Southern California. She particularly enjoys writing on the relation between technology and education, and is a frequent contributor for AdultLearn.com, where she writes on everything from Bachelor’s to doctoral degrees.
Education & Tech