Fostering active vs. passive time on technology.
by Danielle Weber
Director of Public Relations – Divine Savior Ministries
Is technology helping or harming children? That’s the big question parents are asking at school pick up or at a teacher’s conference. “How much screentime should I give her?” “He doesn’t like playing outside anymore.” “This would never have happened without social media.”
Society is waking up to problems that our children experience due to frequent technology: sleep disturbance, insomnia, slower development in social and life skills, less outdoor exposure, anxiety/self-confidence issues, and susceptibility to brainwashing, online bullying, or online predators. With a list like that, it’s hard to remember why we ever wanted children to join us in the technological world.
But, here we are in 2020. From online banking and rideshare services to robots, coding, and national security, there are few areas of our lives that haven’t been touched by technological innovation. Education is no exception. Isolating children from technology in school is not only impractical at this point, but could actually hold children back. 85% of jobs have seen a significant rise in the use of digital tools over the last two decades. Occupations in the computing and information technology fields are projected to grow 12% by 2028.
If we recognize technology’s future importance for our children, how do we teach them to engage positively with it?
Director of Instructional Technology at Divine Savior Academy in Doral, Florida, Michael Babler, has an answer he shares with concerned parents and educators: Prioritize active time over passive time with technology. “Fostering student participation in immersive, active learning experiences with technology activates their creativity, critical, and analytical thinking skills, improves collaboration, and ultimately makes them a more productive member of a digital society,” says Michael Babler. The philosophy at Divine Savior Academy is focused on expanding technology use when it is intentional and improves learning, and not just including it in a school day for the sake of being modern.
Examples of Active Tech Time:
One way Divine Savior Academy is teaching kids to do this is by utilizing the SMART Learning Suite. “SMART Learning Suite is software that supports skills development. It features interactive lessons, collaborative workspaces, dynamic formative assessment and game-based activities (https://go.smarttech.com/monsters).” Effectively implementing this technology earned Divine Savior the first SMART Exemplary School status in the state of Florida.
Beyond expanded knowledge, technology also brings new opportunities. Recently, SMART asked Divine Savior Academy students and teachers to present at the Future of Technology Conference, a national tech conference. Kids from 2nd to 12th grade shared how they use active tech time to collaborate in class and how it helps build skills like critical thinking, digital literacy, creativity, and accountability. They also used this opportunity to exercise their leadership, presenting, and teaching skills. Educating the whole student and giving them hands-on experiences is important.
Technology is a powerful tool that can be used in a positive or negative way, but the real power is in awareness and education. Teaching our children to use it in an active way and choosing educational environments that support that positive use of technology can increase their opportunities and learning experiences.
Located in Doral, Divine Savior Academy provides PreK-3 – 12th grade students with college prep academics in a Christian environment. To schedule a private tour of the school, visit www.divinesavioracademy.com/doral.