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Challenge: Kids and Technology

How Understanding Online Learning Is Becoming Vital To All Parents

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We are all experiencing varying degrees of a new normal. Honestly, sometimes I just want to break down and cry when I think about how things won’t go back to how it used to be. A new topic that I have been thinking about and for most parents is an immediate thrust to homeschooling. It’s not without its bumps, bruises, timeouts and video game systems being hidden in storage ottomans.

But on the other side may be a silver learning. Many of my friends are getting more involved in their kids’ education and a direct consequence is that whenever school returns they will want to stay involved.

Sure, people will go back to work. We’ll get busy again. We won’t have as much time. But this one-on-one time is creating learned behavior.

Think about a lot of our habits right now. We are ordering more things via delivery. Local places are getting better at delivering those experiences and when we return to a version of normal we will still want that convenience because it has become learned behavior. Certainly not to the level it is now but higher than before.

Education Will Evolve Online

This same theory will apply to education. We’re not going to overhaul it, but parents are going to want to supplement the experience with technology and stay more involved.

How will this look? Like everything that’s a little up-in-the-air. Our kids today won’t be afraid to get an online degree tomorrow. It won’t carry the same stigma so universities will start preparing accordingly. And that was already happening.

Canvas, one of the larger online learning platforms, has millions of users predominantly in higher education. They've been growing in demand because of the crisis. K-12 right now is seeing the benefit that an online learning platform provides and parents will like to be involved, track progress, be able to know with one click how the children are doing and where they can help them.

We have apps that tell us how to workout, what to eat, where to be, how to stay calm but we don’t have anything to take a more active role in our child’s education? That will change. It has to change.

And if that causes initial budget concerns expect public/private partnerships to support the introduction of more online learning.

We May See Digital Involvement Start Before School

Online platforms will have other benefits beyond just tracking progress and helping with assignments. Here’s a very specific example. Organizations like FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) will be better able to coordinate messaging and awareness to a platform better used by parents. If parents are using something more, it will be easier to mobilize.

Millions of U.S. children have food allergies. That’s roughly two children in every classroom. The number of children with a peanut allergy increased in the U.S. over the last 15 years, making peanut allergy one of the nation’s most common childhood food allergy, affecting more than 1.6 million children.

The need for digital education really starts at birth and extends. If you think about online learning as a spectrum it’s all connected. And even though this will exist on multiple platforms, there is a through line from things we may have thought were unrelated.

You start with educating young parents about high-risk foods, then you move to helping out with your child’s homework then they use online course platforms to see where they might want to concentrate in college. They take college courses online.

Thinking about it this way takes it out of a vacuum and shows parents just how important online learning will be in their child’s future. We are getting a lot of quality time with our kids right now. We are not going back to the same involvement level we had. We are going to want more.

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