Leveraging Smartphones To Create Smarter Schools

A few months ago I spoke at the City & State Reports’ annual awards event on tech, energy in New York City. During the discussion, I paused to ask the audience what their kids favorite smart phone app was? The answer was not surprising. One man immediately responded, “Snapchat! My kid sent over 60,000 snapchats in one month!”

It is mind-blowing that we are missing one of the biggest opportunities to provide young people with the tools they need to get the most out of smart technology. There are 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools in New York City alone. Youth spend on average over six hours in school each day and receive little to no education on, or through the computer in their hand.

According to Common Sense Media, 75% of kids under age 8 use mobile devices and almost all of them have access to them regardless of the family’s socioeconomic status. There is a huge opportunity to leverage schools in training young people to use technology as a tool in driving their success. We must meet youth where they are by incorporating technology in the classroom in a way that cultivates learning and development.

Smartphones and other devices are a large part of how young people experience the world they live in. There are great benefits to having educators teach students about technology:

-Diversity in Learning Styles: Technology equips teachers with more tools to reach students they otherwise might not be able to reach.

-Increase in Engagement: Educators are able to hold their students’ attention longer and keep them engaged when they use technology youth are interested in. Meet them where they are!

-Real-World Application: Introducing technology in the classroom prepares students for real-world application in their future careers. Technology is not going away.

-Real Time Data: Technology could would allow educators to know exactly where a student was, is and will go. Individual lesson plans could be tailored to every student, and problems identified earlier.

The question I would pose to educators and policy makers would be — Do you want Snapchat teaching your child how to use technology or your school?