Parents, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Tech Programs a Good Match

In talking about the importance of using the latest technology in the classrooms, Tim Panagos, the chief technology officer of Point.io, said that parents should support local schools in their efforts with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and other technology initiatives.

It’s a demand of 21st century education system that students should be familiar with using laptops, smartphone, tablets and other technology devices — and data shows that most students are. Teachers and parents both are responsible for teaching kids how to safely and effectively use these devices, Tim Panagos writes in Wired.com, which results in a unique bond between the home and classroom.

Associating technology with learning in the minds of our children is an important psychological link to establish. By acknowledging that smartphones, tablets, and laptops are a factual component in the lives of every human being and by embracing openly and actively in the exploratory use of these tools for both education and entertainment we are opening the door for our students that leads to the heart of the 21st century experience.

Schools and universities across the globe are embracing online and computer-based learning systems to create a more dynamic learning environment where students bring and use their choice of technologically assistive devices in the classroom.

Despite the obvious benefits, the influx of mobile technology in educational systems has also provoked backlash from parents and teachers alike, similar to the BYOD backlash witnessed within enterprise IT departments in the past few years.

Parents are concerned about the potential negative impact of allowing unfettered digital connectivity in schools. Few parents support unrestricted, unmonitored online access for kids of any age, and some have concerns about the efficiency and practicality of BYOD initiatives.

According to Panagos, parents’ concerns include distractions of games and videos; unmonitored social networking leading to bullying or predation; consumption of inappropriate content; and social status and stigma of devices. And these concerns are valid.

To cope with the risks of unfettered online access, parents should teach children how to safely embrace digital technologies without losing sight of the real world.

Help children to expand their association with the devices beyond the short-attention span media that they are encountering in the entertainment arena by exposing them to deeper, calmer sources of interaction like ebooks. Demonstrate that devices can be used for knowledge consumption and knowledge contribution. Show them how you manage your work life and home life with the help of your own devices. Talk about etiquette for email and SMS in the same way that you discuss the polite ways to interact personally.

The impact of these devices on the lives of adults and children of today is amazing but it is only the beginning. We are experiencing a wave of innovation in digital assistive devices which has more water ahead of it than behind it. Consider the hints of the next generation that are already coming to life in wearable devices like Google Glass. The end of the wave will leave us in the realm of science fiction, perhaps the direct augmentation of the human form to incorporate computational aids.

Schools, however, are ultimately held responsible for the successful implementation of BYOD programs.