Parents and Technology Education: Challenges and Opportunities

1Gone are the days where education was as simple as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today, students are expected to learn a variety of skills and subjects to keep up with our changing world. From foreign language to technology, expectations for what kids should learn in school have been drastically altered in the digital age.

One critical component of the new curriculum for students is technology. Not only is the internet a critical tool for learning, but almost all careers require knowledge and use of some sort of technology. As an emerging trend, technology education presents numerous challenges for students, parents, and educators, but it also provides a unique opportunity for students.

Challenge #1: Using technology for education, not entertainment

One particular struggle parents face is how to make technology an educational pursuit as opposed to a form of entertainment. With so many options available, it can be tough for parents to judge which forms of technology will actually provide a learning experience for the kids. According to a recent study*, 85% of parents think “My child loves technology, but I wish s/he used that passion more productively.”

Challenge #2: Keeping up with innovation

Technology is constantly evolving at such a rapid pace that it makes it close to impossible for parents to keep up with their tech-savvy kids. It’s a constant battle to stay informed of what technology is safe and age-appropriate, and it would be even harder for parents to try to teach those technology skills to their kids. In fact, only 34% of parents feel confident that they can teach their child everything they need to learn about technology.  While most schools have incorporated technology into their curriculums, many parents want their kids to have a deeper understanding of technology, and perhaps even an arsenal of useful technology skills to aid them in their future careers. Therefore, many parents are turning towards online resources to supplement the technology education they receive in school and at home.

Challenge #3: What kinds of technology should kids learn?

Today there are endless options of technology skills kids can learn, so it can be tough for parents to know which skills will be most valuable to their students. Many parents want their kids to acquire skills at a young age that they can build their future career on, while others just want their kids to use their love of technology productively. According to a recent survey, the top three technology skills parents want their kids to learn are coding and programming, web design, and app or game design.

The Opportunity: Inspiring a Generation of Creators

Parents can harness the opportunity that technology offers by empowering their kids to go from consumers of technology to creators of technology. Instead of simply playing a mobile game, encourage them to create one. Instead of spending hours in the default Minecraft universe, let kids build their own custom world. Technology offers endless opportunities for what we can create, so imagine what kids can create in the future if they start learning now!

Whether you enroll your kid in an online technology course or send them to a summer technology camp, providing them with high-quality, immersive learning experiences will kickstart their technology skills. This new knowledge will certainly provide an outlet for kids’ creativity, and may even ignite a passion that can turn into their future career.

Results collected from an online surveys of parents of children ages 8 to 14 residing in the United States. Total number of respondents: 1005.

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