Going back to school after 15 years has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, I am mature and 100 percent focused on success. I'm not just flapping around. On the negative side, I am so far behind what the kids know now. They are so technologically savvy and intellectually sophisticated. It is really daunting, humbling, and truly fantastic.
15 years ago, I took a class at NYU that taught us the basics of the "world wide web." I found some homework that I had written where I remarked, "The internet is very interesting. I am not sure how I will utilize it. I will have to research it further." Hysterical!
I had to do a group project for one of my classes that required a presentation when it was complete. I was making suggestions to the group such as "How about a poster of the results? Or "We can act out what happened?" They looked at me like I was 200 years old. All of the presentations were these amazing powerpoint presentations, or intricate edited movies. Nothing was from the arts and crafts section of Target. Oh well...We still got an A. I think because we were unique (ha ha).
I found myself learning "on the job" at NYU. What are online citations? What is a subscript? What is prezi? Can I quote wikipedia? Does anyone every step foot in the library anymore? All of the rapid paced information comes so naturally to the kids in school now. My classmates were very kind to me, and helped me navigate this world I was unfamiliar with. There were a few giggles and eye rolls as well...
I turned to my own kids for information. A high school kids and a junior high school kid are unbelievably equipped at navigating the technology now. My 8th grader is adept at Microsoft Excel. My 10th grader knows how to do Powerpoint presentations.
I would suggest as a parent like me, who hopes to relate to my children as well as help them when necessary, become familiar with basic technological strategies for learning.
- Learn how to use google docs. Your kids will be using google docs constantly for presentations, papers, spreadsheets.
- Learn how to cite properly. I found easybib.com very helpful when creating proper citations. Remember, schools take plagiarism very seriously. I found citations to be difficult and confusing. A very good process to become familiar with.
- Learn how to make a nice presentation. Prezi is good. Also google docs has a easy and simple way to build a presentation.
Alas, no matter what we do as parents we will never keep up with our kids...
As my kids say, "God, mom...you are so uncool and just don't get it."
I feel like I said that once too...but in person, not via text.