MY DAUGHTERS: LEADING THE WAY IN OUR DIGITAL WORLD
I am so proud of my two daughters, one newly-turned 10 and the other 12. I have pictures of both of them using technology from abut the age of 2. Now, granted, the technology looks pretty funny, but it was in their little hands. My 10-year-old, on a family trip to New Orleans, is seen in a picture at the New Orleans Airport holding one of the chunkiest ipods I can remember seeing. But, our children are definitely digital citizens, born into the technology world and growing up with it. I guess when it comes to technology, I don’t give my kids enough credit. However, my examples below will demonstrate that they actually know more than I do
Beginning with my first example, a few weeks ago, my daughters’ swim team was looking for an adult to put together the swim DVD for the annual picnic. Obviously we adults are fairly overloaded. Our 12-year-old wanted to volunteer, but both my husband and I thought perhaps the task would be overwhelming for her. So, an 11th grade boy from the swim team took on the job. When I ran into his mother, she was telling me that he was struggling a bit; he was attempting to make the video using only GoogleDocs; however, he could not incorporate any music to the presentation. So, I offered the services of my 12-year-old. When I told her, she was more than thrilled. She and this older swimmer exchanged email addresses and text numbers. They have been working together through GoogleDocs for 3 days now. The tasks she is able to complete are amazing me. He puts together slides in GoogleDocs, sends them to her; and she manipulates them and enters them into imovie, along with the chosen songs. I am seriously thinking about signing up for a class with her before school starts up again! I am a teacher with 19 years of experience, but I am not a digital citizen. Both of my girls are way more knowledgeable in the area of technology than I. My husband is a technology director, so he can rival their skills.
I am so glad I helped her to become part of the project. I am proud of her, and she is loving every minute of the work she is doing. The swim picnic is in 2 days. So I will update everyone in regards to the success of her collaboration efforts. Think about it: not only has my daughter used her technology skills, but she has also collaborated with another student without ever meeting him in person. The power of technology is tremendous, and the example mentioned above is a primary example of how technology can be used for beneficial purposes. In all honesty, I think my daughter may have found her niche; and technology degrees go a long way in finding jobs these days. We all know how tight the job market is and may be when our children are old enough to enter it. So, I am impressed and proud of my kids.
When their grandparents first bought into the idea of the iphone, neither side knew what in the world was happening. My mother-in-law is 73, and my mom and dad are both 61. Technology was and still is a bit daunting for them. But, if they had questions and my girls were around, they were saved. Now, my parents do not even have a home phone anymore; they rely on their iphones. I never thought I would see that day. My mother-in-law was deathly afraid of relying on technology, but with the help of her granddaughters, she now feels comfortable using the technology. In fact, she has an iphone 4 and is thinking of upgrading to either a 5 or 6. Again, I never would have dreamed I would see the day.
Throughout school last year, both girls’ teachers would inform me and my husband of how instrumental each girl was in helping with classroom technology instruction. As a teacher myself, I know how difficult it can be when you have students with all different levels of technological advancement. Some students are basic while others are extremely advanced. It helps greatly to have those other students assist in the learning process. Plus, teaching their peers is a benefit for everyone involved in the educational process. Often times, “kid speak” is much more understandable than adult talk! My husband and I were constantly showering both girls with praise for their ability to help within the classroom setting.
I am also lucky in the sense that my girls are very technologically safe. I taught internet safety for 4 years, and both girls were students in my media specialist classroom. They have come to learn that with the positives of technology also come the consequences. Both girls are aware of online dangers and the realization that nothing online is ever truly private, nor is anything you post ever actually deleted, no matter what you do or think. My girls will come to me and share everything that takes place in their accounts. Part of that is their responsible sides, and part is knowing that I stalk their every tech move. When I say stalk, I mean it with the best of parental intentions! The great part is I know I won’t find anything or have to worry—at least not yet! I am not naïve; I understand that one day that could change. It will probably be a day when I have lost all control, a day when they are off at college without me.
However, until then, I am just proud of my little digital citizens and their abilities and accomplishments in terms of technology. When it comes to school, they always ask the teacher if they may somehow incorporate technology into projects, assignments, presentations, etc. It is a great feeling knowing that my children are ready for the future that lies ahead.