Last year the kid’s elementary school announced that they were the beta site for the use of smart devices and would be going completely paperless by 2015. As a father of three, very tech savvy kids, I was thrilled by this. Let’s face it, we didn’t move our entire family 1,500 miles just for the sunshine. We wanted the kids to have access to the very best education we could possibly provide for them.
As a professional with decades of experience, I understand that plans, deadlines and end goals change at times as the reality of budgetary restraints come into play. That is one of the reasons we have Beta Tests right? Seeing as I have become somewhat of an expert on technology in the past few years and my having a strong background in journalism….I offered my services to the school. The school administration said that they had things in hand, but would contact me if the need arose. That was fine with me…..it’s not like I didn’t have a business to run.
After meeting with the school and learning their plans, I sat down with the kids and Danny and discussed what needed to be done on our family’s part to be prepared for the technology upgrade. We talked about how each class was already using the Smart Boards and the Class Dojo App (which I introduced to the teachers). We inventoried the desktops, laptops, smart phones and iPads already in the house. Granted up until now, the kids had been sharing so we decided that each of them needed their own iPads.
As a Dadologist, it is my job to be the responsible one and listen to the voice of reason guide our family down the most direct path to an end result. In this case, it was insisting that we needed to add more devices to the house hold and upgrade our wireless capabilites. Seeing as we had some time to prepare for the school complete integration, we decided that as each kids birthday came along we would add an iPad into the present mix…with the understanding that they were to be used for education first, and entertainment second.
Our eldest daughter, Onyx, was the first to get her new iPad. She was so excited as were we. Now, not everyone in our extended family thought we should be getting the kids such expensive tools. We were told we spoiled them, they wouldn’t take take care of them and even that they didn’t deserve them. All of which is utterly ridiculous! Kids today have grown up with technology all around them and it is our job as responsible parents to teach them the benefits of technology and how to use it effectively.
Another school year has started and to my chagrin, I learn that the use of smart devices has been delayed due to a network and Share Point issue. Thankfully I have contacts in almost every field and at every level of management so I offered to call in some favors to get the issue resolved. I mean my brother, Steve Walker is one of Microsofts Top 50 Developers and travels the globe designing SharePoint based systems. But I was told that it wasn’t necessary. This pissed me off so much, I told the Principal to do a background check on me and see that I did indeed have the influence and capability to be of assistance. But I was brushed off.
Our kids are everything to us and their education has basically fallen into our hands and not that of the school system. I was always of the belief that our being involved with the school and playing second base to the school was the way things were meant to be. But I see now that even in the very best schools, parents must be the primary educator of our kids if we want them to succeed and have the necessary education life requires.
This brings me to the point of this article. The holidays are swiftly approaching and instead of a million toys and presents we decided that each of our three children could pick one BIG GIFT to accompany two or three smaller gifts that daddy and I would chose. Immediately Onyx said she wanted an Apple Watch and I was shocked that she even knew they were due to be announced (this was a few weeks ago). Being the nosey child she is, she had ease dropped on Danny and I’s conversations about them and how each of our family members could benefit from them in different ways.
For her it would act as an alarm for things like going to the nurse before gym class to do her inhaler, block schedules, tennis lessons etc. as forgetful as she is, the calendar app makes it worth it. Everything else is a plus.
My hope is that with the multitude of apps being converted to work on this new IOS device is that Ever Note will work in some limited capacity. I say this because, as I mentioned earlier, the reason we got each child a new iPad was primarily for educational use. To this end I have been working with Onyx and Anthony on how to use apps like Ever Note, Notes HD and PopAGraph (allows the user to create transparent backgrounds). By starting with more difficult programs that allow image manipulation, I was able to capture their attention.
From there is was simple to transition into Notes HD and now Ever Note, which will prove to be the ultimate tool for taking detailed notes, writing reports, doing research etc. I am still shocked that a fourth grader is learning Biology, the Scientific Process and Algebra this year. I did those things in High School!
While having such technology available to the masses, many of us forget that additional responsibility comes along with that technology. As a parent I worry every day about how they are using the tablets, phones and digital cameras. Today’s youth has very different feelings about what is acceptible…just look at selfies and sexting. Add things like online bullying into the picture and it is one of gross neglect on the part of the parents. Need I say more.
So while Danny and I struggle to keep the kids grounded, we also want to prepare them for the future by giving them the tools and access they will need to be successful, young adults.
Michael Harris – Arzon, Dadlogist