Integrating Technology: Preparing Elementary Students for the Digital Age

In today’s digital age, preparing children to be well-versed in technology is an important aspect of a well-rounded education. Integrating technology into learning experiences helps children learn to navigate and excel in our tech-driven world. Moreover, fostering digital literacy is crucial to prepare for future careers in STEM fields, which have become increasingly prevalent in today’s educational landscape.

At Asasa, we incorporate age-appropriate technology into our early academic curriculum for our Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Elementary school students. Our Calgary and Airdrie locations all have computer labs on site, allowing us to bring the benefits of technology directly into the classroom. 

Parents and educators nowadays are much better versed in technology, and simultaneously are better equipped to share its benefits with emerging minds. Here are some ways to leverage technology into increased academic success and social awareness for children, as practiced at our private Calgary elementary school

Find Activities that Encourage Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is defined as “having the knowledge, skills and confidence to keep up with changes in technology.” It acknowledges how well-versed someone is in the capabilities of technology, and their ability to navigate these capabilities. 

The web is filled with educational games, activities, and programs that offer a fun way to learn about digital technologies. From online coding challenges to PBS Kids science games, there are plenty of age-appropriate activities meant to empower students to navigate the digital landscape confidently. Many of these activities enhance critical thinking, help develop research abilities, and offer opportunities to demonstrate responsible online behaviour in a controlled digital setting. 

Even researching a topic of interest (Minecraft, anyone?) or watching some YouTube videos on robotics can help develop research, typing, and organization skills. Children who spend time using technology constructively when they are young have the best chance of utilizing it effectively in the future. 

Stay on Top of New Technology

Learning about new and emerging technology not only highlights the exciting happenings of the future but demonstrates the roles different technologies play in our society. We make it a point to engage children in activities and media that explore cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, and 3D printing. Through hands-on experimentation and research, students can understand how these technologies shape various industries and impact our daily lives.

Additionally, ensuring familiarity with these ever-changing technologies gives students the chance to experiment with their functionalities, – actively applying creativity and critical thinking skills. 

Balance Screen Time 

While making use of technology is a crucial aspect of preparing to live in a digital world, it is equally important to be able to turn it off. Studies have shown that today’s youth are continuously exceeding appropriate levels of screen time. One study, Screen Time vs Green Time: The Health Impacts of too much Screen Time, noted that “students in grades 7 to 12 are spending up to 7 hours a day on screens, more than three and a half times the recommended limit of 2 hours per day.”

Developing healthy habits around screen time use when children are young will give them a better chance of maintaining these healthy habits down the road. Set boundaries around screen time use, and find ways to routinely incorporate time spent being active outside.

Develop Research Skills

The internet is humanity’s epicentre of information, and developing the skills to navigate it successfully is how children will learn to leverage it. Encourage your child to delve deeper into their areas of interest by conducting thorough research online. Teach them how to identify credible sources, such as reputable websites, academic institutions, or trusted publications. 

Supervised experimentation with the capabilities of Google and other search engines can help steer children toward reliable sources, teach them effective search strategies, and ensure that they are accessing age-appropriate content. By developing these research skills, children can become discerning consumers of online content and effectively use our info epicentre.

Teach Internet Safety

Finally, and most importantly, children need to be well versed in internet safety and digital etiquette, aka “netiquette.” Without the skills needed to navigate online safely, children can be vulnerable to various risks and threats that exist in the digital world. 

They should be aware of the potential dangers they may encounter online, such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online scams, and identity theft. They should understand the importance of protecting their personal information, such as their full name, address, phone number, and passwords, and should never share these details with strangers online. Try a game like CyberFive, which introduces children to the five rules of internet safety. Or Interland, an adventure-packed game that demonstrates the key lessons of digital citizenship. 

Technology is a tool meant to be used, and we believe in helping children learn to leverage it. At Asasa, our early academic curriculum includes a focus on developing technological skills, ensuring children receive the instruction they need for technology to be an asset.