Do you remember the first time you were taught how to type? Or depending on your age and where you grew up – do you remember your first time using a computer in school at all? It might have felt a little silly at the time. If you were learning how to type, you might have looked down and wondered why the letters were scrambled all over the keyboard and not in an order you were used to. You might have wondered what difference learning how to solve math problems in a game would make in the long run. The truth is that typing quickly and accurately is an essential skill today, and so is understanding how to solve problems on a device.
Our kids are also using devices and figuring out tech at a young age. If we wonder why kids need to learn about technology at all, the answer is as simple as it was in the situations above. This education will pay huge dividends in the future. Here are 5 reasons why kids need to learn about technology.
- Support for different types of learning
Not every child learns the same way, and the devices and apps available today are well equipped to support many different types of learning. Kids get excited about learning differently, and they absorb information the best through various teaching methods. If your child is a visual learner, there are obviously benefits to learning through visually stimulating experiences on a screen. If your child is a kinesthetic learner, there are haptic technologies and device interactions that are touch-based. If your child is an auditory learner, there are interactive music and sound-based programs that keep kids engaged with their ears. The possibilities are greater with devices than with only traditional classroom facilities.
- Socialization and collaboration
Being fluent in tech and social media gives kids the ability to stay connected with their peers, family, and friends, to collaborate and solve problems together online, and to choose which platforms or social activities to participate in. Beyond the obvious capacity to communicate and share content on social media and messaging apps, learning about technology gives kids the knowhow to decide how they fit best into the tech landscape throughout their lives. Do they know everyone who they talk to online? Do they want to participate in social media trends? Do they know how to use emerging technologies? Tech literacy from an early age helps them make informed decisions when answering these and other questions.
- Digital preparedness and safety
Developing a healthy relationship with technology from an early age helps kids to hone skills unique to “digital natives.” They’ll speak the language of tech, stay on top of new opportunities, and practice device and Internet safety. When you think about how to teach kids about technology, consider the benefits of starting the conversation at an early age so kids develop an intuitive and personal understanding of tech in their lives. Internet safety becomes more complex as kids grow into their teen years, so it’s beneficial to build an understanding sooner than later. We went into detail about the best time to introduce kids to tech in this article.
- Tech literacy and professional development
Jobs will increasingly require some device, app, or other tech literacy, even outside of the traditional STEM industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US has projected that STEM jobs will grow by 8.8% from 2017 to 2029. Software development jobs in particular are projected to grow by 22%. But we know that careers that have nothing to do with writing code will still require tech literacy. A healthy understanding of devices and programs will be beneficial in any number of industries moving forward. For example, we learned that quick and accurate typing is a useful skill in many professions, and we’ll see many more examples like this from our current tech usage in the future.
- Greater interest in STEM
Learning about technology may help foster a long-term interest in science and technology that matures into a pursuit of computer science, engineering, or other related disciplines. If your child shows interest in any of the STEM fields, then there are many obvious next steps in both educational and career development. However, even if your child doesn’t decide on software engineering as a career, for example, there are still many benefits of a STEM education. The critical thinking and problem solving skills that are constantly reinforced in STEM education will find many useful applications in other careers as well.