The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native

JENNIFER GARVEY, LOWER SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATOR: Most children today are considered digital natives.  They seem to be born knowing how to operate a smartphone.  Many of them have likely FaceTimed with long-distance relatives before they could walk.  Their coloring books often pair with apps that bring their pictures to life.  With the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology, children are connected like never before.

Does all of this technology create a void in empathy?

But, we worry about the impact of screen time and social media on our children and we have many questions.  How much screen time is too much? What is the right age to give a cell phone?  Should I allow my child access to social media?  Are they getting enough face-to-face time to develop appropriate social skills?  Does all of this technology create a void in empathy?

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Why Everyone Should Be Literate in Technology

BRUCE SCHWARTZ, UPPER SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATOR: My phone rang on a recent Sunday morning. It was my 82-year-old father wanting to know the best way to transfer content from his old computer to the new one he had just purchased. He said, “I think I have too much for a USB drive, so should I buy an external hard drive?” “Should I upload everything to the cloud?” “Is there software that makes this easy?” Great questions obviously predicated on prior knowledge.

This is an octogenarian who grew up listening to Orson Welles and Red Skelton on the radio…

Without further inquiry, my father told me that he had 73.5GB and that most of the content was JPEGs and AVI files. Being a Technology Integrator, I could not resist asking if he even knew what a GB is or what JPEG and AVI mean in terms of file types.

This is an octogenarian who grew up listening to Orson Welles and Red Skelton on the radio; a man who has never been particularly interested in math or science or engineering…or, technology. However, this is a man who recognized 12 years ago that computerization was causing the world to change at a faster rate than at any point in his lifetime.

At the age of 70, my father had embraced the use of email and Skype to stay connected with family and friends. He used the World Wide Web to learn about the cancer that my mother was battling. Likewise, he embraced the importance of learning how and why technology works and how it can be used in this rapidly changing world. He is my father, so I may be a bit biased – but that’s pretty darn impressive!

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Our Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

BRUCE SCHWARTZ, ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATOR: For many individuals, technology is a love/hate relationship.

We see the benefits in our personal and professional lives. We appreciate that these tools provide organizational structures, enhanced communications, and real-time exposure to what is happening today. However, we can also become frustrated by how frequently new and updated products and services are released—and uneasy about the impact these tools may have on our society, our relationships, and our ability to think independently.

As an Academic Technology Integrator (i.e., someone who pays special attention to the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology), I get asked a lot of questions.

These questions usually fall into two categories:

1. How can our students ‘keep up’ with the rapid pace of technology in order to be successful in secondary school and beyond, and 2.,

By deploying so much technology in the classroom, are we “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” as we alter teaching methods with new technologies?

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