Technology in education has become the new trend that is being followed when designing lesson plans and course work in a variety of leading institutes and organizations. While this seems like an alluring option for the children, as parents there are numerous thoughts and queries that come to mind when it comes to e-learning. Listed below are some extremely important questions that parents must ask before enrolling their kids in such curriculums.
1. Who will teach my kids how to use digital tools?
It is widely believed that the current generation of children already knows how to operate digital devices; it might not always be the case. In fact even if your child knows how to operate a computer/tablet and access the internet, it might necessarily mean they know how to use it constructively. You need to ensure your child's school have certified and well-trained personnel who can teach your children how to use the various educational tools at their disposal appropriately.
2. Who will teach my kids digital citizenship?
With all the information easily available, how will the children know exactly how they are to access such information and what they can do with it? It is necessary for every institution, educational facilities included to teach their students what it means to be good digital citizens. Students must be made aware of their inherent rights and responsibilities that include internet privacy, cyber bullying as well as the legalities that come into play while using the information provided online. Digital safety needs to be given as much attention as teaching your kids something as basic as personal safety when alone/away from parents.
3. Are the teachers familiar with the teaching tools and technologies used?
This is a very important question as it is often noticed that the students are generally more tech savvy that the teachers. In order to ensure the teachers are well-prepared to handle student doubts and queries, it is imperative that schools invest in educating their teachers and professors on how to use the necessary technology appropriately and also train them to be able to pass on this knowledge to their students as well as the students' parents, if necessary.
Pro Tip - Find out if there are special classes provided to educate parents on how to use such digital tools. If not, start a parent-teacher collaborative association and organize classes and seminars to overcome such barriers.
4. Are the digital tools being used as facilitators of learning or just act as facilitators of the processes?
This is important as it helps the parent identify exactly how much work the child is required to do on their digital devices and what it is. Digital tools can be used in various ways; it can be used as a platform to facilitate assignment submission and access their coursework and it can also be used to employ creative ways of educating a student by augmenting an existing lesson plan through use of innovative online learning techniques. This in turn also lets the parent understand exactly how much time their children will be required to spend digitally, both at school and at home.
5. How important is the presence of a digital device?
Depending on the amount of importance your child's school places on e-learning, you can decide how much study time to allocate to digital tools. And while all the required tools and devices will be at the student's disposal at school, homework is a different ball game all together. Parents need to understand how important these devices are, find out whether the school has provision to allow access after school hours, or whether parents need to make alternative arrangements to ensure their child's educational journey remains unaffected. On a related note, following are the questions you should know the answers to:
- Where can my child go if he/she faces difficulties while learning with digital devices?
- Where can I get the necessary training and information to help my child study?
- Can the devices be brought home for extended study?
- What digital tools should be provided to facilitate learning at home?
- Does the school use digital tools to stay in touch with the parents? What are they?
6. What is the school’s policy on the use and range of application of such digital tools?
You need to ensure you know of all the policies at play when it comes to e-learning. Because of the kind of access that the internet gives children, it is imperative that you know exactly how much liberty can be given to your child while using the internet and their digital devices to avoid misuse or exploitation of such resources. You can hold parent-teacher conferences to discuss, plan and execute policies that ensure the safety of your child. These conferences can cover the following topics:
- School’s guidelines on digital contact between teachers and students; can they be friends on social media, what are the appropriate platforms to do so, etc.
- School’s policy on cyber bullying and precautionary measures followed to avoid it
- School’s line of action in case of misuse or abuse technology
As you can see, with new technology, new challenges arise. To be able to successfully overcome and learn from them, both parents and teachers need to come together and devise methods that are beneficial to all those involved. Therefore, it is important to ask the right questions when technology is being used to educate your child, in order to be well aware and well-prepared to handle the changing needs of your child and their educational journey.
About Author: Making education simple and easy to comprehend is Dana Jandhayala's forte. She's had a long career as an educator where she has taught in several different schools and institutes in multiple countries. Today, she helps students with personalized online tutorials by SchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand, making learning fast and fun. She writes to help students study better, and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.