Education has evolved dramatically in recent years, primarily through the development of new electronic devices. Whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop, every student is carrying at least one device to and from school daily, using it frequently at home and in class.
These electronic partners that we have on hand all day every day have become so essential to the students’ participation in class that there is a real risk of a detrimental impact on grades if they have trouble with any of their devices. Any student who has unexpectedly run out of battery power knows that all too well.
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It’s not just power that’s needs to be considered, though. It’s also protection of the device, and it’s vital that parents understand the importance of that protection. Once we’ve spent the money on a gadget such as a new cell phone, the concept of actually spending even more for Apple iPhone Xs cases, for example, is just as important as a phone itself today–maybe even more important. Think about what makes these devices so essential to our students? And making sure that they are protected is part of the package that needs to be considered, whether it’s a tablet, phone or their computer.
Forget the sticky notes and bright markers. Students today heavily rely on the use of technology for their studying, installing study apps that help organize and plan their time. It’s an ideal way to structure their work because it’s very likely to be how they’ll operate in their careers after they graduate from college or university.
Calendars, shared documents, mobile conferencing, and countless other tools in today’s workplace rely on devices, so it’s best for kids to get started on that path as early as possible. You may not realize it, but the swiping and tapping they do all day can actually be a developing job skill.
We take for granted how easy it is to communicate with kids today. If an after-school activity is canceled and your student will be riding home with a friend, he or she can pass the word to you instantly without losing classroom time with a trip to the office phone by a simply text, email or phone call.
And with the ever-present possibility of safety hazards from weather emergencies to school security issues, it’s priceless to be able to receive a text reporting that everything is okay. And with the ability to know where your kids are at any time via apps on their phones, a parent can feel more secure these days. However, the peace of mind, safety and security that is provided by a device is only available when the device is properly protected from impacts and other damages that may occur.
For a student researching a paper, the library was always a sort of black hole where you felt there was no way out once you entered the premises. Minutes quickly turned to hours in a search for resources that was often fruitless and frustrating. With limited copies of books or articles on a particular subject, many a student was left with few resources to write about. Students struggled to develop papers on topics that appealed to them just because they couldn’t find research. And professors and teachers did not have a lot of empathy for that situation!
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With countless papers and books available online these days and through e-readers, students today can find the research needed on almost any topic they can imagine. The result is that they can do projects on things that interest them, spurring them to dig deeper and do more. While verifying sources of data and information is critical, it’s a thousand times easier to find dozens of sources and options to include in any paper or project. A functional tablet or other device is a vital link to all that information.
The parents of today’s students remember the days of waiting in line for a computer to type an assignment or even having to use a typewriter back in the really ancient days. The minutes seemed like hours as we waited for our hunt-and-peck classmates to hurry and finish, and we wasted lots of time standing in those lines.
With so many laptops in use by students today, that line has gotten shorter. Projects like Google’s “Rolling Study Halls” effort are providing students with laptops and bus-mounted wifi to help them make better use of their time, even when their families (or their location) make it impossible. Created with this goal “By powering school buses with wifi, devices, and educator support, Rolling Study Halls is helping students across the US—especially in rural communities—access more learning hours outside of school.” Just think if we could have made that kind of use of our bus ride home 30 years ago!
Technology has come into every part of our lives, and education is no exception. With miles to travel to and from school each day and thousands of steps across blacktop and concrete on campus, every student’s device is at risk if it’s not properly protected. And being penny wise and pound foolish as the expression goes, is not a wise decision. So rather than have to listen to a long winded story of what happened that destroyed the newest phone, tablet, laptop or other gadget that was recently purchased, protecting it might be the smarter and more economical way to go!
As your student–from kindergarten right on through graduate school–heads back to class this fall, be sure that you give those important devices the protection they need to make him or her as productive and safe as possible.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment below! And do you have a story to share when you didn’t have one of your gadgets protected and something happened?