Teaching with technology

Technology is all around us, and is always changing. Now more than ever, it is becoming common to see devices like tablets and laptops in the hands of young children.

Some school districts in our area are even using these items during the school day.

“Part of this is building this plane as you’re flying it,” explains Osage Superintendent Steve Bass.

Bass says the Osage School District is entering a new “technology territory,” and prior to the start of the upcoming school year; each student will have his or her very own computer device.

Kindergarten-3rd  grade will each get their own iPad, and 4th  through 12th,  their very own dell laptop.

Superintendent Steve Bass says it’s something the district’s technology committee has been working on for years, and while it will be new and different, there are certain things that simply won’t change.

“This is just a device. We think we have great teachers in the district and they’re going to have to just teach a little bit different. But as far as the technology, it will be there for the kids, but we’ve always expected good teaching and that’s not going away,” says Bass.

Each teacher will decide how to best incorporate the devices into the lesson plan. The overall goal of these new tools is to engage students in learning, but some may question how young is too young to have these kinds of devices?

“Oh, that’s a hard question; we get that question a lot here,” says Katy Flint.

Flint helps parents shop for tech devices for their children.

As far as how young is too young; she says it really varies from kid-to-kid.

“I think technology can be great tools for learning and developing skills in small children; under supervision. I think when you start giving children smart phones and tablets that they’re taking on the go with them, when you’re not supervising what they’re accessing and what they’re doing on it; that’s when you need to start looking at the maturity of the child,” says Flint.

Whether parents are buying them for their kids, or the devices are a part of the school day, Flint says parents have a responsibility to know what their kids are doing with their technology.

Bass also said the district is very aware of the potential of cyber bullying and harassment that may come with these devices.  He says the district has always talked up-front to students about those issues and that they will lose privileges to the devices if they’re using them disrespectfully.

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