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Tweens, Teens and Technology: Teachers, Trends and Your Child’s Training - What Every Parent Needs to Know

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Eileen E. Hegel, Ed.D.

Family / / May 10, 2017

To meet the needs of digital natives meaning youth raised on technology, many teachers to include College Professors have discovered the importance of technological skills particularly as related to educational outcomes.  Herein, while there still exists a small portion of parents that prefer their children not use technology, many should reconsider this proficiency as related to their childrens’ present and future.  Primarily, because their child will need this aptitude in many educational and professional settings. 

On their 2017 website, the U.S. Department of Education reported 48 states along with the District of Columbia encourage the use of technology either for supplemental use or for full-time programs.  Per their 2012 study, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported 95% of education buildings have computers and this has increased from 89% in 2003.  As part of the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Digital Learning Day 2017, students and educators demonstrated the multitude of ways a connected classroom can benefit educational outcomes such as for online books, research, and electronic submissions of assignments. 

In my research on teens and technology, specifically, with Facebook, some of the participants noted their educational use of Facebook.  One participant recalled that she used her coach’s update for the time of cheerleading practice when her Mom forgot to check e-mail.  In another instance, this same participant received a message from her coach on Facebook when her cheerleading practice got postponed.

Additionally noted in my research related to teens and Facebook, female friends will use this venue to share homework, remind each other about quizzes, to help each other study, and sometimes get updates from the teachers related to class work like assignment due dates.  One participant stated, “Miss Patterson, my history teacher. Like if we have a snow day or like we can't go in for school for some reason, she'll be like, 'Update like this will be due on this day instead of this day,' and she’ll (sic) usually sends it in an e-mail too, but like she'll put it on Facebook just in case like, yeah, a reminder.  I like it 'cause like I almost never check my e-mail.  So to see it on Facebook it's like, oh, oh (raises her voice with expression).

As a College Professor, my students have often asked me to post my notes on our online platform.  At times I will do this, but not at the expense of notetaking as this task reinforces information.  However, an outline of our notes on our online platform can serve as a useful reminder and framework of what has been covered in class particularly should a student miss a day or would like to double-check one’s notes. 

Some of the other values of technology as related to educational settings would be:

1) that students can learn to do Powerpoints, a skill often needed in business

2) teachers can quickly post updated current events that relates to their subject matter

3) many online tutorials such as on youtube.com can serve as a source of additional information and/or tutor for students

For the most part, much of the information, skills and abilities one learns in school transfer to the professional world. 

In fact, Burning Glass Technology noted in their 2016 research on internships that employers want specific skill sets.  For example, in Event Planning they want social media skills.  In Architecture and Structural Design they want Adobe Photoshop.  Hence, tweens and teens need to keep abreast of technology for the present and the future.

As added note for parents, that may have concerns about their tweens, teens and technology, these tips can help one with successful outcomes:

1) be sure to work with your teen regarding his or her posts and what may or may not be appropriate

2) remember you’re the parent and have every right to see what your child posts online

3) ask your tween or teen how he or she uses technology for school and ask to see how the venue works

4) be aware of the safety features that you can implement online.  You do a search on Google or elsewhere to find some of these tools and be sure to check some of the parental reviews

5) keep it positive as many tweens and teens do use technology responsibly and prefer your guidance as opposed to your pressure

Without a doubt, technology like any tool has positive and negative uses.  However, as Thomas Friedman said, “the world is flat,” therefore, I encourage every parent to allow their tweens and teens to become adept at technology for educational and professional purposes.  In the words of Philip Green, “Good, bad, or indifferent, if you are not investing in new technology, you are going to be left behind.”  We need to make sure our children have the best services available to them so they can soar!

 

Categories: Parenting
About The Author
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Eileen E. Hegel, has a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in social media from Liberty University.  She has worked with tweens and teens for over thirty years.  For more information or questions go to higherways.com.

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