I talked with a teacher recently about technology for students. She strongly declared, “My students will never have an iPad or cell phone.” Really? Her attitude wasn’t based on skill level of her students. They would certainly be capable of managing the technology. I suspect she was thinking more about the economics of the tech tools.
It all depends
Does technology cost a lot? It all depends. If you think of a tablet or a phone as a toy, then yes, it’s an expensive toy. But if you think of it as a “life support,” tool, then your perception of its’ cost (or its’ value) changes.
Here’s one opinion
By now, a large percentage of our population has some level of access to smart technology. Here’s how Joanna Garcia described her experience.
I’m not a techie, but I don’t know how I lived without an iPad.
Mine comes with me everywhere.
As greatest inventions go, it’s up there with electricity and cars.
Is that how you feel about your devices? How many do you have? How integrated have they become into your daily life? And here’s the most important question . . .
What do you use your technology for?
The statistics may change depending on how the categories are labeled. But the trends are clear. The majority of mobile usage (meaning smart phones and tablets compared to desk top or laptop computers) for the general population of users is aimed toward social communication and personal entertainment. Check out these survey results showing how the general population really uses their mobile technology.
How People Really Use Mobile1
• 1% Hobbies & Interests
• 4% News & Information
• 7% Planning for upcoming activities
• 11% Accomplishing (Finances, health, productivity)
• 12% Shopping
• 19% Socializing (Email, interacting with other people)
• 46% “Me” time (Games, entertainment, music)
How do those statistics match your own personal experience? Do you spend most of your “screen time” with games and music? What about your students?
What apps do people really use?
App developers have come up with more than a million ideas for apps for people (the general population) to use on their mobile devices. Research shows that last year the average smartphone user downloaded 26 apps but the average person continued using only about six of them. The remaining 20 were just left on the device to clutter the screen or were deleted.2
Just thinking it through
Games, entertainment and music are not bad things. They actually stimulate the whole social world for us and for our students. But it does help to have a realistic goal for those tech tools. How you use your technology for yourself will impact how you will guide your child or your students toward activities on the devices.
The “miracle cure”
Ipads have been declared a “modern day miracle” for both children and adults with autism. There are lots of positive outcomes reported by families and teachers. I also hear about the frustrations and disappointments. Some people’s expectations are met and others are not. Perhaps part of the challenge is that some people are not quite sure what they want to happen with the tech tools.
Holidays are here
So, I’m sure there will be lots of students unwrapping technology gifts this holiday season. My email will get full of questions like, “What apps should we get?”
When people ask me that question, I ask a couple of questions back. First, “What is the student’s age and skill level?” Second, “What do you want to do or accomplish with the device?” Two important questions to aim you in the right direction.
Coming soon. . .
I’m putting the finishing touches on a new book that will help answer those questions about what apps to get. I’m telling you now so I’ll push myself to get those last details finished. Watch your email. I’ll let you know when it’s available.
In the meantime, how do you use your devices for yourself and for your students? Click here and join the conversation?