Can Technology Save Our Schools?
Last month, the U.S. city of Chicago closed several of its public schools – the largest in the nation’s history – because of the lack of funding to keep the doors open. Chicago wasn’t the only city that had to close the doors on schools, which became a troubling trend starting last year.
College tuition continues to rise, knocking potential students out of the running because they aren’t able to pay, while college grads are now faced with thousands and thousands of dollars of debt as they try to find businesses that will hire them.
Meanwhile in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, students of all ages are being prepared to enter into the real world, with real world knowledge and skills. The UK has a 91% rate when it comes to high school students graduating, while the the US is at 77%; the UK has sixteen and seventeen year olds preparing or even entering college, while US seniors are entering college with a lack of the basic cognitive skills required to get there.
There are several reasons, none of them good, on how the U.S. is finding itself sliding down the educational pole across the board, with kids getting lost in the shuffle of politics, money, and greed. With school closing and universities and colleges literally shutting its doors against potential students, how can they (and ultimately us as parents in general) continue to teach children and help them learn? One alternative is starting to rise for many homes with students: Technology.
Could technology be the answer?
Forget what you may or may not know about technology and the Internet or how it works, just consider what’s it done and it continues to do. The rise of the Internet has made the impossible possible, enabling communication to groups of people who may not have been able to meet in person or even communicate period.
Technology has always been around, as has the Internet, but once both reached the consumer market, they blossomed and balloon. If you’ve been fortunate to watch the rise (and sometimes fall) of the technology, you know that kids – which many are adults now – grew up with this stuff and are growing up with it now. And they are quick to understand it – a three year old can master an iPad in one sitting, versus an adult who might take several days, months, or even years to get the entire scope and gist.
So what possible ways could technology help our students?
- Connectivity – the Internet makes it easy to connect with people, either through email, video chats, or social media. Many schools – both K-12 and universities – offer the ability for students to use the internet in their studies; this allows them to interact and learn. Moms, you have the ability to implement a filter and monitoring abilities that take control of browsing habits.
- Mobility – you literally have to be living under a rock to not know that mobile technology has taken off. Where we were tied to a desktop at the office, we can now sit out on the deck with a laptop or a tablet. Apps are making use of this by shrinking programs that are easy to access and even easier to share.
- The Cloud – and speaking of access, the cloud – the platform by which programs and documents are stored elsewhere, but are accessible through any computer – makes it easier for students to work on group projects, without the need to schedule around work or school schedules. This allows mothers to breathe a sigh of relief, instead of calling off to worry about rushing to complete a last minute, forgotten project.
- Innovative – one of the best things about technology is the innovation that brings with it. And now, it’s not hard to find young people taking that innovation and bringing it to life; look at founders Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. What do these guys have in common? In college or right out of, these five created the biggest and most innovative companies currently – Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. There are children, fifteen and under, that are taking their cues from the giants and making their own software programs and companies.
Certainly, schooling will also be a big part of the learning process for kids. In the U.S., residents of the Chicago area may want to look around at some neighboring cities to see what they might have to offer. A Milwaukee business school program can be offered online and can help to navigate college students with the business end of their idea or creative flair.
In the UK, online programs like the Henley and Edinburgh business schools offer distance learning in a variety of business disciplines, including Executive and Enterprise programmes, which are in addition to a doctoral programme that is ranked #1 in the world.
Mothers of students at these schools don’t have to worry about the lack of funding, or if their children are receiving a quality education. There are downsides to being on the Internet and using technology for everything, however as moms, we need to help and instruct our kids that these tools should be helpful and steer them away from the hindrances.
And involvement in learning about their ideas or platform is also important; have you ever listened to a child explain something they were really happy and interested in? That excitement and enjoyment sorta dies when we get older, doesn’t it? Help them to keep it alive and one day, you can say your kid started an international technology company.