The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.
Here is a fact: there is not a single child in our school district who remembers a world where cell phones didn’t exist. Our children will grow up as consumers of technology and will interact with technology in ways that some adults have only imagined. Kids are currently using technology to communicate, to improve workflow, and to create amazing products.
In the video I’ve attached, my seventh-grade daughter, Ella, is interacting with technology in a way that most adults never have. She is completely comfortable making a video of herself (she’s working with a lip syncing app) and editing and perfecting that video. She is also comfortable sharing the video with friends (in a closed and monitored network). As pre-technology teenagers ourselves, most of us would have cringed at this type of exposure. However, our kids can’t get enough of it.
This is the norm for our children, and we need to accept that devices are part of their environment. We also need to understand that kids need to learn how to use these powerful tools responsibly. As a school, we have a responsibility to give kids access to these tools and also teach proper use. This means providing our students with regular exposure to these tools and guiding their use. Just as you put training wheels on your child’s bicycle and monitored them closely as they learn to ride, we need to provide children with technology training wheels.
As we begin to create our technology plan, we are seeking to partner with parents to reach our digital citizenship goals. On Monday, Pleasantdale parents will receive an email with information about a survey that will help determine the direction we need to go. Additionally, we will seek volunteers for focus groups that will help us to better understand your perspective when it comes to technology. I encourage you to participate in these important focus groups. We all know that technology is part of our children’s lives and is here to stay. Your schools look forward to working with you to make our students responsible digital citizens.