Technology is already playing a significant role in schools, but how big should this role become for each level of study?
Should we transform into a world where our five-year-old children attend kindergarten online without any social interaction with their peers? Should more high school classes be offered online to allow more flexibility in schedules for students? Would it make sense to pull back on the use of technology to promote more activities where technology isn’t primary to the learning process? These are all questions facing administrators that will need to be answered as more technology is created for the future.
Should Elementary Students Use Technology Every Day?
Students in grades K-5 are just beginning their time in the classroom and learning how to grow together. Some come from homes where they are the only child and have to learn how to share and interact with other children. Some kids come from homes with several siblings and relish the experience of standing out in a new environment. The social interaction of children in these age levels is extremely important to their overall development, and technology can sometimes stifle this development by creating barriers to their personal time together.
Schools Should have Some form of Technology
While the social growth and development of elementary school students are extremely important, their comfort with computers, handheld devices, and electronic items is also important. There is a social aspect to working together while playing online games, solving puzzles while using computers, and learning the controls of devices together. Its important for children in lower grades to understand how to use devices and more of them are familiar with technology now than ever before. Those kids also need to be in environments that encourage social interaction with other children.
For students in lower grades, technology should be part of their education but not the primary focus. These kids need social interaction, active playtime, and experiences that don’t involve electronics or technology.
Is Technology an Important Part of Middle School Education?
As students get older and enter grades 6-8, they are learning more about who they are and how they fit into the entire dynamic of their school. This is the time when many students are first introduced to various extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports. Some will become athletes, others will sing in the school choir, while others will be part of academic competitions. This is a time when technology will play a greater role in schools and the development of the education process.
Students should learn how to research properly, to use online resources that can give them the information desired, and to avoid harmful websites. They should also learn to use handheld devices for more than social media and games while also being introduced to robotics, augmented and virtual reality processes, and learning systems that can assist students in their educational growth.
Middle School Students are Going to Make Mistakes
Students in this age group are the most prone to making mistakes online and should be taught what the consequences of those mistakes might be without having to face them in reality. This could mean setting up dummy accounts online that show what can happen if a student accidentally charges an amount to a credit card or visits a harmful website. The use of technology at this level should have as much to do with teaching kids to use the technology as using the technology to assist in schoolwork that can be completed for a grade.
Yes, middle school students need to understand how to use technology, in the classroom and at home. This is a time when students use technology to interact more than they did in elementary school. It’s important these students are encouraged to interact without technology and learn about activities that can aid their physical growth and discovery of their talents.
By High School, Technology is a Necessary Tool in Schools/
Students in high school have likely figured out the social aspects of school and have an idea of who their friends are. This is an age when most students are using technology every hour of the day but need to understand its use in areas of their lives that have nothing to do with gaming, social media, texting, or watching videos on YouTube.Programs are already growing in many high schools to encourage students with an aptitude for specific learning programs to use technology that’s made specifically for that industry. There are STEM programs around the country for students looking to get into engineering and science, while other programs have been developed for art, music, language, history, etc.
The Importance of Taking a Break
Students in high school that spend time actively in sports and participating in various clubs will often take a natural break from their handheld devices to participate in practices, meetings, and other organized events. Unfortunately, not all students participate in extracurricular activities and will need to learn the importance of putting devices down to take a break. This could be as simple as spending an hour reading an actual book, taking a hike in the woods without a smartphone, or spending time with friends without devices being allowed. This raises the question of whether or not schools should teach students how to take a break from technology during the day or if that should be left to the parents.
Expanding the Educational Process for High School
One of the greatest benefits that educators can offer students in high school is the capability to attend advanced classes during their high school years. There are many programs that allow students to obtain as much as a two-year degree at the time of graduation from high school.
Not only can students interested in college find this head start, those looking for their future in careers that don’t require a college degree can also find programs they can enjoy while in high school that can be taught with the use of technology.
High school students must use technology every day, and programs need to continue to grow to offer these students opportunities of interest that can serve them well for the rest of their lives.