Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on October 22nd, 2013

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When I was a kid...how technology advancements changed how things are done.

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We all know technology is a rapidly changing thing. We are always learning something new, or finding new ways technology can simplify our lives. I marvel at some of the things that my kids can utilize now that make me feel like I did when my Grandma used to say "when I was a kid we had to walk 3 miles in the snow to school" or something of that nature. With the advancements in technology also comes some things that make life more stressful.

Things that make life easier for kids in school now vs. in the 80's when I was:

1. Textbooks on websites. Schools give students website addresses with access codes to access their textbooks at home eliminating the need to lug them all home. Gone are the days of carrying every book home for homework. Now they bring home a folder or binder and login to a website to finish their homework assignments.

2. Teacher/school websites. Who needs an assignment notebook anymore when the teacher posts the homework online, heck some of my kid's teachers even upload the worksheets they handed out in case you left yours at school.

3. Google Drive. Eliminates the need to carry around several drafts of essays or papers. Your drafts that you work on at school are also accessible at home. It also helps kids work on group projects. The other day our high school freshman was working on a biology group project in our kitchen communicating with her group via face-time and by sharing Google Drive documents. Teachers also share access and make notes for you. Yesterday my daughter had to login to work on her essay that the teacher had marked up for her.

4. Skype or Facetime. Have a group project? This also goes along with number 3. Gone are the days of waiting for your parents to get you to your partner's house. Today, kids coordinate their schedules (in between football, dance, volleyball, etc) and set a time to Skype or Facetime and work through their assignments that way.

5. Worldwide web/Google/Siri. Heck kids today don't know how to use a card catalog or do research in a library. No need to have encyclopedias at home either. Today, kids can Google anything they want, or have an Apple product equipped with Siri, they can ask her to look it up for them. No more finding time to hit the library and digging through books to find what you need.

Stress Inducers or hazards of technology on kids today.

1. Online textbooks/teacher websites. This makes it easier for kids to forget things at school when they know they can just hop online and get a worksheet or access a textbook. Gives them some wiggle room in being responsible.

2. Online grade books. Allows kids or parents availability to check daily can make kids stress out over every single grade. Constantly checking after school to see if the test they were worried about was graded.

3. Google drive/emailing assignments. This allows some teachers are requiring students to turn in assignments on weekends or days off. We have had things due on weekends, and some teachers grade the assignment on the weekend, so kids are focusing on grades sometimes 7 days a week.

4. Texts from teachers. Yes, this happens. My daughter has friends whose biology teacher texts alerts about a test she decided to give the next day, or assignments, etc.

5. 24/7 technology availability. Today kids can procrastinate and do homework until all hours of the morning because they don't have to rely on the hours of operation of the library. The internet is always open. Or the overachiever can study and overload for hours in preparation simply because information is always at their fingertips.

So, while we can all agree that technology and software advancements have made major improvements in our lives, there are some drawbacks. I mean, the examples I listed above are not just for kids. Any and all of them can be applied to adults in the workforce. Teachers are replaced by bosses or clients. Graded assignments are client proposals or projects. Skype, Facetime, and texting can be over-bearing clients or bosses who want you available 24/7.

Advancements in technology have helped make our world function more efficiently, given our kid's access to more information in seconds, helped us find cures for diseases and more. I believe the pros of technology advancements far out way the cons. Talk to us about what web based applications you are using in the workforce to make your life easier, or what things your kids use that you think are a godsend because they always have what they need at their fingertips. Is there something you wish you or your child could do online or via an app that would make things faster or more efficient? Let's hear it and make your wish reality.