This morning, I was called to meet with my son’s first grade teacher. And much like the days back when I was the one in trouble, my palms grew sweaty and I wondered what he’d done. Was it attention issues? Was he bullying? Forgetting to flush? Vast images of first grade naughtiness raced through my head.
But I was nowhere near close. Apparently, my sweet little just-turned-seven year old was hacking into other students accounts during computer lab, reading their virtual books and spending the points on redecorating their cyber homes, feeding their pets and randomly trading them in for robots and aliens.
To say the least, my reaction was mixed. I tried not to laugh, then got serious. Miss T, who is young enough to be tech savvy, admitted this was a first for her too. “I just set it up. I didn’t think I’d need to password protect everyone’s files. But thanks to Lucas, now everyone has their own password.”
When I got home, I did give my little guy a good talking to, and thankfully did not crack a smile. But I couldn’t help but wonder what this new generation of tech babes has in store for them in their future. Here’s a classroom of kids, who during computer lab sit quietly “reading” their online books for the occasional rewards in the form of a virtual game. However, my son has already cracked the code figuring out that you don’t have to actually “read” the books, you can just click through them, get the points and go straight to the game. And when you finish with your own levels, heck, go play someone else’s .
I suppose this is the new form of cheating. What does this mean as these kids get older? I’m thinking that probably for the rest of my son’s educational life, he and his classmates will be savvier at using technology in the classroom than the teachers who are setting it up and this frightens me. What does this say about the shift toward online education with universities like Harvard giving out accredited degrees through the internet? You can probably swing by the virtual store and get your college sweatshirt on the way out. And if you’re my son, you could probably find a way to graduate in less than a week.
What do you think about technology in the classroom? Are you instilling values in your child that carry over into the virtual world? Have you put limits on screen time and do you have restrictions on your browser? We’d love to hear from you.
*This post is dedicated to Brenda Bolt, my elementary school principal whose job I unfortunately made very difficult. Pay back, Brenda. Rest assured.