Each August, we send a new set of high school graduates headfirst into college. With college comes a whole new set of responsibilities. Students can find it difficult to manage these responsibilities away from the structure of home and high school. This is especially true when it comes to using technology responsibly. As parents and educators, we must acknowledge that we send them into a world where technology competency is required.

Graduating a responsible computer user means engaging them in responsible technology use. However, this extends past purposeful and monitored use in classrooms. Instead, students need to understand the importance of appropriate use themselves. Also, they need to understand that inappropriate use can lead to negative consequences.

Universities see advancements in classroom technology as a necessity in this technology-driven world. In fact, many classes take place in smart classrooms with multiple forms of technology. Furthermore, professors often require students to bring personal laptops or tablets to class, especially if research and writing are involved. Therefore, high schools can prepare students for college by encouraging digital research. This would include teaching students how to identify reliable and scholarly sources. That also prepares students for the kind of independent required in college.

Professors typically communicate, provide material and collect assessments online. High schools can prepare students for this by using course management systems (CMS) platforms like Moodle, Haiku or Blackboard. These systems give teachers the tools to post assignments, information and assessments online rather than giving daily reminders or sending emails. In this way, students are prepared for online course components. Also, they’ve learned independence and to take responsibility for in-class assignments.

Most professors include a technology policy in their syllabus. These statements make the expectations for technology use in the classroom clear. Also, these policies sometimes call for grade deductions or dismissals from class if technology is used irresponsibly. Some professors love for their students to use laptops. However, others find laptops in classrooms to be a distraction. Thus, technology policies at the same college may differ widely. Professors may call for free usage, limited usage or no technology usage at all. As a result, it is up to the individual students to manage their behavior. In high school, teachers often manage common technology distractions with some sort of lockdown system. However, older students may be ready to learn that appropriate technology use is their own responsibility. Therefore, students leave high school understanding the importance of independent, responsible computer use.

Understanding the benefits and risks of technology use prepares high school students for college. They will enter college confident in their abilities to use technology. They will also be responsible enough to know when to turn it off. High school is a crucial learning platform for these students. Schools need to make sure that graduates understand why responsible technology use is important.


By Amy Haupt


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