This guest post is contributed by Tesi Klipsch who is an accomplished blogger and mother to five adorable children. Her blog states: “I’m no writer, I assure you. Just a woman with a few things on her mind. A mom that makes mistakes, a wife that loves her husband more than words can say and a woman constantly seeing God in the everyday.”
When I started thinking about what role I want technology to play in my kids’s education I looked around and found a few things. My husband on his iPad, me on my iMac and my iPod sitting next to me uploading podcasts I listen to daily.
It’s an interesting question for a semi-hippie like myself. My husband is a Director of a YMCA camp in the Midwest. This means we live, year ’round, on 250 acres. 20 minutes from the closest city. And we really like it this way. This seclusion has led to many things, but arguably my favorite would be that my kids are literal best friends with each other. Every day there are no fewer than 3 baseball games being played between the 5 of them, no fewer than 4 bugs caught and shown to mom and no fewer than 10,000 steps taken by each. We live and breath nature and it.is.awesome.
That said, I do want them to know about technology. (Side note: my kids’ ages are 8, 7, 6, 5, 4). As of right now they don’t ever play on the computers but Zach and I agree that as they get older they will be allowed to. We’ve implemented a “no screen” rule in their rooms. We’re not going to allow phones, computers, games or TVs in their rooms, there are just too many ways they could get in trouble with that business happening.
But if I’m being honest, a good portion of my relationships are now through some sort of technology. So I know if they aren’t taught this form of communication and if they are left to figure it out on their own, there is a higher degree of misuse than if we were to allow them to delve into this technology-as-relationship situation.
At my kids’ school they already use a lot of really interesting technology. Smart boards, Bluetooth microphones, multiple computer labs, etc. These add tremendous value to their learning experience as well as (I’m sure) make the teachers’ lives easier.
My concern with technology (at the risk of sounding 80-years-old) is that our teachers start using it too much. That they take creativity out of their curriculum and just use standardized/computerized software instead. My concern is that my kids start to rely too much on technology and less on their own creativity or intelligence as they become more and more interactive with various forms of technology. I know it’s not just a concern but a reality that is happening everywhere, I just don’t want it to happen here to my kids (remember the semi-hippie thing?)
If it seems I’m all over the place on this, it’s because I am. When talking with Zach about this we both were. We realize as middle-class citizens we have luxuries in our home that many lower/lower-middle class families would not have if technology was not taught in the classroom. It needs to be taught in schools so that every child gets the same opportunities with regards to learning new technologies. I know that learning new technology and being exposed to it will greatly help the future of our kids, I don’t want to make that exclusive to only kids that can afford it at home.
I believe there is a happy medium, I just don’t know what that is and who does know what that is.
I also believe it falls on us, as parents, to instill basic values and parameters at home so our kids learn to live within a society that is technology focused but to also be able to put it away and have real relationships outside of their screens. I think a healthy balance, both in schools and at home is what I want for my kids. The way to achieve that is up in the air for me. In general I’ve found the more open the schools are with me about what and why they are teaching my kids the things they are teaching, it’s been easier for me to understand. Perhaps that’s best case scenario for technology as well.
I really love the discussion in general (I have it with other moms a lot actually). But for now it’s time to put away my screen and go do some gardening. My midwest soil has just pumped out some delicious looking tomatoes that appear to be perfect for our lunch!