Classrooms around the nation are changing rapidly as many schools introduce iPads and other tablets into the classroom. For some students, the change can be a bit of a whirlwind. Most students use tablets for personal entertainment and suddenly the shift has made the device an educational tool.
However, there are benefits of adopting technology-based classrooms with tablets, but also responsibilities for the teachers, administrators, parents, and students as well. According to The Tennessean, nearly 4,000 hours are spent on technological devices each year by kids between the ages of 8 and 18 years old.
With classrooms integrating the new tablets, teachers and parents have to make sure the devices are introduced successfully. What that means is students need guidelines and lessons on how to use tablets as an educational device.
"Families use technology in every aspect of life, and it's opened up a world of educational opportunities that didn't exist a decade ago," said Bill Laraway, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Oak Elementary in San Jose, California., according to the source. "Technology has risks and benefits, and a parent's job is to intentionally and thoughtfully teach kids the difference," Laraway explained parents should work on four categories to teach when adopting tablets: focus, oversight, responsibility and safety, the source reported.
Getting students to focus on the work at hand is an important task. According to PBS affiliate KQED, students already have a tough time paying attention and getting homework done on time, and when technology is assimilated into the classroom, the devices can be a bigger distraction.
"The real message is because attention is under siege more than it has ever been in human history, we have more distractions than ever before, we have to be more focused on cultivating the skills of attention," said Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author on social and emotional learning books, the source reported.
Overseeing what students use their tablets for is important in any technology integration. With more schools allowing students to take their tablets home with them, it can be easy to get distracted with video games, Facebook and other websites, The Brookings Institution reported.
In the classroom, it's critical for teachers to use certain apps and programs that allow students to only use the tablet when given the "OK." Otherwise, students will take advantage to use the device for the second the teacher's back is turned.
At home, parents can use specific apps to monitor what kids are searching or to limit access to inappropriate sites. Student's might feel like it's a bit of an invasion of privacy, but it will cut distractions immediately.
According to The Tennessean, Laraway explained that responsibility is absolutely critical toward educating students with tablets and other technology. Posting inappropriate things online can come back to the student and even affect his or her family. Social media presence requires responsibility and so does time management on the devices.
"We love the advantages of [technology], but we see how it can be abused," said Sean Ryan, an executive at Facebook and a parent as well, the source reported. "We're in no hurry to give them unlimited access to all forms of it - that's why they call it 'parenting' and not 'friending.'"
Students have to know how to protect their devices and the passwords on their computers. According to Common Sense Media, Internet safety is more than just blocking inappropriate websites. Instead, parents and teachers have to instruct students to keep a polite and respectful presence and to never share personal information or photos with strangers. It might seem like obvious information, but when a tablet is given to a young student, there's a lot to teach.