Recently my District conducted a technology survey targeting the students. The final question was: "What is your best advice to your school for advancing technology in the next 3-4 years?" Of the 992 responses one keeps ringing in my head: "Don't overdo it, because many parents today are still technologically impaired." It's a fact all of us in technology are aware of, but occasionally need a reminder such as this! It's a component of the Digital Divide that is often overlooked. The dreaded generation gap.
I have sat in sessions with affluent parents attending workshops on the "dangers of the internet". Many are agast and agog at what there children are able to find out there in cyberspace. The initial response is generally to want to yank the connection. I must admit that this was my intial responses as well. Blocking and filtering to protect the student from the sewers on the information superhighway. My opinion has changed somewhat. Now I am of the mindset that it is vital that we teach our students to be responsible digital citizens. But how do we do that, if Mom and Dad haven't a clue?
So how do we close the generation gap? It is my humble opinion that it starts with the most basic of communication and observation skills. Ask your child for help! Believe it or not they may have experiences that you don't! Watch what they are doing online. Ask them what interests them. Have them show you how to use the tools that you are paying for!
In a recent post, I mentioned a class that was provided for parents to train and introduce them to school resources. There are often classes at the local high school, community college, library or park district on how to leverage the power of technology. Take advantage of these typically free resources. You can make a difference in your child's life by making a difference in yours! Don't be afraid to try new things. You're likely not going to "break" your computer and if you do your child will likely no how to fix it!