By Dan Matthews
Photo by Julia M Cameron: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-woman-tutoring-young-boy-4145354/
Let’s face it: Ours is truly the great age of technology. And while many parents may want their children to enjoy the simple innocence of childhood, free of the risks that an overreliance on tech can yield, the simple truth is that technology isn’t just a staple in the lives of children today, but it’s also inevitably going to form the cornerstone of their future success.
In other words, there’s just no denying the central importance of technology in the lives of children today. Millennial parents, however, understand perhaps better than most that this is by no means a necessarily bad thing. As the first generation of digital natives, millennials understand what it means to grow up with a device in your hands.
Best of all, they understand the unique power of technology as a learning tool. It is for this reason that millennial parents and educators are increasingly forging a potent alliance for the use of technology in education.
Parents’ Role in Promoting EdTech
For far too long, parents have been largely disenfranchised from their children’s education. Outside of the occasional PTA meeting or parent/teacher conference, moms and dads were largely absent from the classroom or schoolhouse. They often had precious little understanding of what their child was learning, how they were being taught, or how they were faring in their academic life.
This left the burden of ensuring a child’s academic success to fall principally on the teacher’s shoulders. Without parental support and assistance, however, these endeavors often fall far short of the mark.
With the advent of edtech, however, parents are at last better able to fulfill their essential role in supporting their children’s education. For example, millennial parents can use their own significant experience with technology to help foster their child’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In addition, edtech enables parents and educators to maintain a nearly constant stream of communication through various channels, from text to email. This is critical because, unless a parent understands which skills and behaviors to support and reinforce at home, the educator’s efforts in the classroom are unlikely to succeed.
The Unique Advantages of Millennial Parents
To be sure, today’s technologies don’t come easily to everyone. However, millennial parents have a unique advantage over older generations of parents. Unlike previous generations, who came of age before the digital revolution and who had to learn to use and integrate these technologies into their daily lives, millennials are likely never to have experienced the world, or daily living, without the aid of devices.
This means that, for millennials, technology is simply a tool for living, as natural as electricity, television, or the telephone is to older generations. Not only will younger parents model this easy and approachable relationship with technology for their children, but they will also more naturally turn to tech as a tool for promoting their child’s intellectual development.
This means, moreover, that educators will have less work to do, perhaps, in encouraging parental buy-in to the use of edtech in their child’s education.
Millennial Parents and EdTech Integration
In addition to turning to the computer, television, or table to encourage their child’s interest in STEM, millennial parents are also uniquely qualified to instruct their children in the use of technology as an instrument both for learning and for productivity.
For example, these young parents are likely highly familiar with the use of time management and productivity tools, such as digital planners. These technologies can also be highly beneficial for children.
Parents can teach children how to use digital planners, for instance, to keep track of school assignments and even to manage large academic projects by scheduling incremental milestones on the way toward completion. Ultimately, this kind of instruction and support in the home helps children develop key soft skills that will help them to access both in school and beyond, including goal setting, task prioritization, and time management.
How Millennial Parents and Children Benefit From EdTech
Edtech isn’t just beneficial for children and their teachers. Parents can also reap the rewards of these technologies. For example, in the era of remote work, edtech can provide a much-needed distraction for children while their parents are endeavoring to work from home.
Additionally, if you’re working from home and they are learning via edtech, this is a perfect opportunity to display growth positivity and a growth mindset. Your kids are always watching you and generally model their own actions after yours, so it’s always a good idea to react to situations in ways you’d like them to imitate. For example, even if you’re having a bad day working remotely, you can show your kids that you keep your cool, don’t get frustrated, and always try to keep yourself busy with meaningful work. The more you model growth positivity and a growth mindset, the more likely they are to imitate your good habits.
Best of all, through the use of educational games or learning apps, parents can rest assured that their children are spending their time productively, This also helps to ensure that their children are keeping safe while online, as most edtech systems are highly secure, accessible only to authorized users and easily monitorable by parents and caregivers.
Technology is by no means only suited for work or entertainment. Now, more than ever, technology is proving to be a powerful asset in the education of our children. It's not only educators who are leading the way in the integration of edtech in our schools. Millennial parents are also playing a key role in supporting and advancing their children’s education through the use of edtech, including modeling technology acceptance, instructing children in the use of learning and productivity software, and ensuring their children’s safety online through the use of secure educational games and apps.
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