Good Digital Parenting
Blog | April 23, 2015

Education Technology: No Classroom Left Behind

Staff Assistant, Family Online Safety Institute

As we know, nearly every facet of our lives is becoming more and more technological. And classrooms are not being left behind. Kids are using iPads, laptops, and mobile apps on a regular basis. It can be difficult, especially with younger kids, to know how much they are using them and exactly what for.

Tech Allows for Flexible Learning Models

Children’s classrooms today seem to be drastically different than those their parents attended, which can make it difficult for parents to empathize with the goings on. Part of the reason for this is that technology allows for more flexible learning models, two of the most popular being the flipped and blended learning models. These terms are floating around a lot lately and have effectively become buzzwords in more modern schools. The flipped model entails assigning students videos or tutorials to view outside of the classroom and using class time to answer questions or review. This holds students more responsible for content and assignments outside the class. The blended learning model, the more popular of the two, is essentially what it sounds like. Students learn both in part from digital content and in part from traditional, face-to-face instruction. 

How exactly does this work? The specific tools vary from school to school and teacher to teacher. FOSI has put together a guide of the most popular education apps being used today. Find out what apps teachers in your child’s schools might be using here

Have the Tech Talk

If you don't know what kind of technology is being used in your child's classroom, ask them! One of FOSI’s 7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting is to talk with your kids early and often. Try asking what devices or apps they are using, how often, and whether or not they enjoy them. But don’t forget to talk with your child’s teacher as well. WNYC’s New Tech City published a list of questions you can ask teachers about education technology in the classroom. You’ll also find a glossary of useful terms having to do with Ed Tech, such as 1:1, early warning systems, and personalized learning.

Set Limits

Technology is an invaluable tool in classrooms that help students think in innovative ways and study subjects that were previously inaccessible. But the more iPads and tablets are used in schools, the more screen time kids are getting. On average, kids now get more screen time than they do school time. Therefore, it is important to set up guidelines for your household and set time and place limits for tech use. While we all need to take time away from technology, it is important to remember that it opens up whole new worlds for kids in the classroom.


Cover image courtesy of Flickr