By Teachers, For Teachers
With the turn of the 21st century, more and more schools and classrooms have opted to become digital and include devices, Internet access, and technology in the classroom into their curriculum. While it makes sense that children should be familiar with this technology in the classroom early on, sometimes it can be too much and hinder their development. As a teacher, your job is to realize which technology in the classroom is potentially detrimental to your students’ development and limit their access during school hours.
While children always have ideas and suggestions about what software to use in class, you should always take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Consult your IT expert about this software before using it in your classroom. Sometimes children will only want to do well and help their classmates by suggesting software that will only turn out to be malicious and harm your school network. Your expert should be able to handle any viruses or threats that this software might provide, but it’s a good idea to avoid it altogether for the sake of a greater good.
Instead: Talk to your colleagues and an IT expert about what kind of software your children will need during their classes. Software such as Microsoft Office or Photoshop might not seem exciting at first, but children will learn to love it once you start learning more about it. Malicious and suspicious software is not worth the risk just for the sake of their potential use in class.
Students will likely try to convince you into installing games and entertainment software on the computers. Some of these games will not only be detrimental to their free time and focus, but also make them forget about school work in the process. Some of these games include Counter Strike and World of Warcraft, among others. While these games are of very high quality and they have a target audience, your children should focus on schoolwork while the classes are in progress.
Instead: Try bargaining with them and offering a solution that works both ways. A number of games out there are educational in nature and can offer a plethora of positives to your classroom. Games such as Scribblenauts are focused on learning and having fun at the same time – you can use them as an extracurricular activity once your obligatory lessons are finished. The kids will love you for actually wanting to work with them and being a friendly figure, which will help a lot in the future.
Compared to other social media out there, Facebook and Instagram have proven to be the platform of choice for many young people. This means that you should avoid using them with the children during the classes and make sure they can’t access them either. Have your IT expert block access to these platforms on your school network to make sure that your kids are present during the lectures. While you can’t affect what they do outside of school, you can help them come back to reality for a few hours while they are in school.
Instead: You can promote platforms such as Tumblr or Pinterest as a source of personal inspiration and a healthy way of making new acquaintances online. These platforms are built around blogging through pictures and original media where anyone can make a profile and upload their creative endeavors. This is a perfect way to introduce your students to a more positive side of social media and not just Facebook which they are accustomed to and check it regularly. Strive to open their minds just as any good professor should.
Giving young children full access to the Internet might be a bad idea, especially if they are poorly supervised. Children should be acquainted with the possibilities and dangers of the Internet in a controlled environment with an adult present at all times. Doing anything other than that might result in them doing something they shouldn’t – contacting strangers, visiting inappropriate websites, or something else entirely. Even if all they do is visit a writing service in the USA during class, the school Internet network should be set to handle such attempts. A school tech expert should be able to set the network in such a way so that children don’t stray away from appropriate and useful content.
Instead: You can talk to your IT expert about setting up an intranet network that operates on your school grounds. Having an online library for your school is a wonderful way for children to access any number of information that they need for their lectures. Having an intranet network might be a good idea if you are dealing with elementary school children who are very susceptible to influences. All it takes is an older child telling them about how cool Facebook is and they will be on their way of creating an account.
Your kids probably have a couple of gadgets stored somewhere in their backpacks. Parents like to make their kids happy by buying them expensive phones, tablets, or similar electronic gadgets. What they don’t realize straight away is that this usually results in children being divided into groups in schools. Some children have it all, while some don’t have anything at all. Talk to your colleagues about forbidding the children from carrying any expensive devices to school on a daily basis – everything they need for their schooling should be right there in the school.
Instead: Equip your classrooms with inexpensive and accessible computers or laptops for your children to use. Giving them regular and early lectures about the proper use of technology is a great way for them to start appreciating what they have in life at such young age. This way you will avoid splitting the children into groups of kids who have expensive toys and those who don’t – everyone should be equal when it comes to access to technology in school.
The technological development has made it much easier to educate children at a young age, but it also made the job of keeping track of them much more difficult. Talk to your students about the bad aspects of the Internet and technologies as a whole without going into any grizzly details. They need to understand that technology is very useful when used properly but it can also cause huge problems in life down the line if it’s used without care.