The Importance of Technological Education in K-12 Schools
In a time when technology is developing rapidly and changing the world, why is there so little technological education in K-12 schools? If schools aim to teach their students to be successful and productive members of society, then they need to account for the rise of technology in their curriculums. The problem with this, of course, is that teachers are already chronically overworked. They struggle to teach their many students with different needs crammed curriculums; how are they going to learn new technology skillsets, and then teach them? But this doesn’t mean that technological education should be off the table.
The rise of technology has been dramatic, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, technology is growing and expanding every day, becoming more important and far-reaching. This is not even including the addition of hybrid and remote learning. Additionally, the workforce is becoming increasingly technological, even for jobs that didn’t use to have a single tech component. This transition, to such a technological world, has been rapid, and has left many schools unsure of how to proceed with incorporating technology into their schools. Now, teaching students technology has become crucial in order to prepare them for future opportunities. If students can learn computer skills in the classroom, they will be far more set up for success then if they solely learned from a curriculum that was largely designed before technology became quite so widespread.
Additionally, most kids are already utilizing technology. In fact, research shows that the use of technology by youth has risen dramatically in the past five years. One study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 80% of parents say their child—aged 5 to 11—uses a computer, with 63% of parents saying their child uses a smartphone. Many parents are somewhat concerned about these statistics. They’re concerned about technology stunting social development, their focus in school, and, perhaps most urgently, they’re concerned about their children accessing sexually explicitly or violent content, or being bullied or targeted on the Internet.
Therefore, if kids are using technology anyway, then it’s crucial for schools to have technology in the classroom and teach them how to use it in a safe way, where they can enjoy the benefits of all the information and resources on the Internet without risk.
Key aspects of technology that kids should learn in schools
- Cyber security. There are so many ways for kids to accidentally use technology in ways that aren’t secure, if they don’t know what they’re doing. For starters, students need to learn a general wariness when it comes to security and the Internet. They need to learn which sites to avoid and the potential dangers of chat rooms and talking anonymously to strangers. They need to learn how to make strong passwords and to keep those passwords secret. They also need to be wary of strange emails, messages, or links that could hack them or infect their device with a virus. Ideally, schools would also teach their students to use MFA, or multi-factor authentication, where a user only has access to certain content after using multiple authentication methods, verifying fully that the user is who they say they are. All of this cyber security information is essential for anyone who’s using the Internet to learn, but especially kids.
- Good research skills. The Internet is a potential gold mine when it comes to accessing information, which can be a great thing for making learning more accessible. Not only are there many, many sources just clicks away, but they come in many different forms, like videos, images, and podcasts, which can appeal to every type of learner. But the flip side of having so many resources available is that students also need to learn how to filter through them, since not everything on the Internet is trustworthy or factual. Thus, the classroom is the perfect place for kids to learn what makes a good source, and how to judge whether something has reliable information. This will hone valuable job skills, and will also ensure that kids aren’t being led astray by fake news, or unduly influenced by information that hasn’t been fact-checked or edited.
- General information. Finally, in order to use the Internet educationally and as a way to prepare for future opportunities, schools should teach students basic skills. Some of these skills could include rotating a PDF, learning how a computer network is set up, how to force quit frozen applications, and how to effectively save and back up your work. Teaching these basic and essential skills to students would make them much more productive and apt technological users.
Teachers are already overworked and struggling to teach their students everything in the curriculum. But the truth is, most school curriculums have not adapted to best suit such a technological time. If schools want to set their students up for success and opportunities, then they need to invest time and energy into teaching their students technological skills, such as those listed above. The transition to incorporate technology into the classroom could be challenging, but it will be worth it to prepare kids for a technologically driven world.
Teaching about technology requires having equipment. There are means to acquire the right, affordable technology for your school, no matter your budget, and we are here to help. Learn how you can implement modern technology in your classroom with our Educational IT Services. We help educators find affordable solutions to augment teaching in their classrooms.