Typically, parents have the knowledge and children still have something to learn. With tech, the tables are often turned. At Shorecrest, an Apple Distinguished School, technology and the iPad are threaded into our Middle School days. As a result, our Middle School students have a facility with the device that adults usually do not. However, there is a need for parents to monitor the way a student uses his or her device. Here are some starting points for a conversation with your Middle School student about using the iPad appropriately and avoiding distractions.
Ask Your Student to Teach You:
Sit down with your student and have her show you how to do something on the iPad. It may be how she takes notes with Notability or how she finds information with YouTube. Ask her about what her favorite lesson was to learn on the iPad. Ask her what she finds most distracting about the device. You’ll be surprised how much she knows and wants to share with you. [More about students and Technology]
Texting can be a powerful tool, and many students use it for homework help, etc. However, proper texting needs to be taught and supervised as the middle schooler learns to use it appropriately.
Middle Schoolers can forget that when they use messaging on a device the expectations for how they speak with each other remain the same, as if they were speaking face to face. Students often don’t understand that when they text something there is a permanent record. Making the text, in many ways, worse than saying something out loud.
Remind your child that texting is not a private conversation, but a written record that can be accessed at any point in the future. Let him know you will check his messages periodically, and that you expect that he would not write anything in a message that he wouldn’t say to the other person in public.
Use Guided Access to Avoid Distraction:
You can use the iPad to assist you in helping your child use the device appropriately. Guided access allows you to lock an iPad onto a specific program. If your student needs to get something done using an app, but you are concerned that he is often off task on the iPad, it may be time to become a Guided Access expert. Information on how to use this helpful feature can be found directly from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612 .
Jonathan Davis is the Head of Middle School at Shorecrest. Visit the Shorecrest campus to learn more about the 5th-8th grade Middle School program.