Parents must educate their children on technology advances

Technology has become deeply integrated with how we live our lives.

Technology has become deeply integrated with how we live our lives. It’s difficult to imagine a time when we didn’t rely on email, cellphones, social media and other tools to stay connected with those who are important to us in all areas of our lives. The power of today’s technology is astounding and it continues to improve almost daily in size, speed, capacity and almost every way imaginable.

Today’s children can’t conceive of a time when there was no Internet, when phones were tied to our homes or when mail was written by hand and sent with a stamp on it. For many of us, we can still remember a time when cellphones were as big as bricks, computers were slow and cumbersome and email was an impersonal fad that wouldn’t likely last. The term “state of the art” changes almost daily and the tools we use to teach must be aligned with that change wherever it makes sense, while being mindful that change for its own sake isn’t always the best choice.

It’s our role as parents and educators to not only ensure the technology our students bring with them to school is a help not a hindrance but also to ensure we keep pace with technology to ensure we provide 21st century learning environments. Research has shown young people learn best when the content delivery format is familiar to them, and by bringing technology into the classroom they already use in their social lives, we’re helping to give them a head start. From using interactive whiteboards and wireless Internet access in our schools, to integrating tablets and smartphones into our content delivery system, we have a responsibility to provide learning environments that are engaging and interactive, while maintaining the integrity of our curriculum.

Technology has the potential to hinder the learning process as easily as facilitating it. With this in mind, we need to ensure we encourage the proper and responsible use of technology in our schools. Using current technology, where appropriate, to most effectively deliver classroom content is our ultimate goal. The STAR Catholic board has established guidelines for the appropriate use of technology in our schools and our administrators are also being proactive in developing policies to guide students in their use of technology during school hours.

At STAR Catholic Schools, we’re working to ensure our schools and classrooms keep pace with technology, so that students have the best possible opportunity to learn, in ways that best suit their expectations and unique learning styles.

Maria Lentz maria.lentz@starcatholic.ab.ca is a Ponoka trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division Board. STAR Catholic Schools have 3,200 students in 10 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin. Learn more at www.starcatholic.ab.ca