Teaching Technology

Whether living in Kentucky (USA) or Kazakhstan or Kabul, if you teach your children at home (or if they attend a national school abroad) what computer, desktop, keyboard, technologythey learn must include so much more than academics. It is even more than teaching social skills, spiritual development, and character building. To truly prepare children and teens for college and life beyond school, we need to be preparing them for the technological age in which we live. And, in order to do that, we need not shy away from technology ourselves.

I remember when I was a teenager how my grandmother was uncomfortable with getting and using a microwave oven. She did finally get one, but she never did get a computer. My great aunt, on the other hand, not only uses computers at 89 years of age, but she uses Facebook, has an e-reader, and comments on blogs! When I graduated from high school, it gave a person an edge in college if you could use a typewriter.

What are some things you and your kids need to be comfortable with using?

  • Computers: A middle school student should be typing fluently and able to have a basic knowledge of word processing. During their high school years, they will have an edge if they acquire basic skills in programs like PowerPoint, Excel, picture editing programs, etc. Students need to know how to back up their material in multiple ways (hard drive, back-up drive, thumb drive, and even e-mailing items to themselves where it remains on a server like Gmail). And, they need to be doing so frequently. Did you know that many college students prefer to take notes on a notebook computer or netbook?
  • Internet: Students should be knowledgeable about researching using search engines. They need to know how to recognize reliable sources and how to document those sources. They need to be advised in proper e-mail etiquette, particularly when writing teachers and others in authority. Even if they do not use it regularly, they should have a working knowledge of the following prior to going to college (or back to the US for high school): Facebook (and/or other social media), Twitter, blogs (including how to start a blog using WordPress, Blogger, or something similar), Internet radio (such as Pandora), Internet shopping (buying, selling, and renting), Internet banking (they should have their own account before they graduate and know how to use it). With many colleges now offering students the ability to take both live and online classes, did you know that your student will have an advantage if they have experienced at least one online high school or dual-credit college course?
  • Other devices: If you do not live in an area where your teenager has access to the following items, try to find a time and place where they canRS Jacobs, digital photography, digital camera become familiar with (at least by researching them online)—cell phones (particularly those with multi-functions), e-readers, printers, digital cameras (and using them to photograph documents to send using e-mail), scanners, ATMs. Did you know that now some banks with some phones allow you to take a picture of a check for deposit? Did you know that some college students use cell phones to take pictures of notes that professors write on the board and also use phones and other devices to record lectures to listen to later for review?

If you have not yet read these articles by contributing writer Linda P, at least open the second one and scroll down to the section on technology!

You may also be interested in reading: Are you stuck in a rut?

Do you and your kids know what a QR code is and how it is being used?

Did you know that kids can take Driver’s Ed and the written component of the driver’s ed course online to get their learner’s permits?

Have you or your kids ever seen or used a Smartboard in a classroom?

Do your kids know how to access a public or college library online?

If you blog, did you know that you can post by e-mail? That is how this post is being done.

What would you add to this list? Leave a comment and help us all grow in updating our technological experiences!

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Delana H. Stewart is an education consultant, author, poet, mother of 4 (one by adoption), new grandma, wife to James, avid reader and blogger. She blogs at: Delana’s World, Nine Year Pregnancy, and Three Days at Sea.

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More articles on technology:

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3 thoughts on “Teaching Technology

  1. Pingback: Explore the Code | The Education Cafe

  2. Tom Domzalski Sep 26, 10:37 am — Wrote in from another blog–

    Delana, I read your blog…a nice starting point but my expectations, as a high school teacher and technologist, for students today are vastly higher. Thanks for introducing the basics once again though.

    • Tom, I would love to include a short article from you on The Education Cafe about your expectations for students today. Since a large part of my audience have children in national schools that are a bit behind the curve, getting parents to step up to at least the basics was my goal. However, I would love to include more challenges for parents and teachers. If you are interested in writing something for my blog, you can send it to stewinfo@pobox.com. Please include the subjects that you teach (and if desired, the school you teach for and its location).

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