STEM Education Las Vegas | Innovation Academy Montessori
Technology gets a bad rap these days, at least as it relates to children. This may be due to recent media reports highlighting tech industry giants keeping products they developed away from their own kids. Such revelations have prompted many parents to pursue a reduction or ban on electronic activities as a result.
…the “T” in STEM is not synonymous with a magic box meant only to entertain. It is a vital part of improving our ability to learn, grow, and live well.
But technology is more than smartphone screens and high-definition TVs. And the most important factor seems to be how tools are used—not that the tools exist. Certainly, many technologies have improved modern life. When properly applied, technology can make the world a safer, more beautiful place.
This is the premise of the second letter in STEM. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Before reading more of this post, consider checking out the first in this series, on science. In that essay, we explored the importance of observation, experimentation, and drawing informed conclusions. In contrast to schools that focus on rote fact memorization, our Las Vegas Montessori school fosters hands-on learning.
Giving an Idea Form
At Innovation Academy, we believe science is an important part of a healthy education. Incorporating science into daily classroom activities encourages observation, discovery, and developing evidence-based conclusions.
Technology, then, can be thought of as the next step. What do you do with your newfound knowledge? Is there a process that can be made easier? Is there a task that can be handled with more efficiency? Can a facet of nature inspire a tool that benefits a person or group?
In this way, we demonstrate that the abstract can become concrete. Studying the shape of different animals’ wings, for example, influenced how airplanes are constructed.
This basis of understanding for technology’s purpose can then shape a student’s approach to using technology. In other words, the “T” in STEM is not synonymous with a magic box meant only to entertain. It is a vital part of improving our ability to learn, grow, and live well.
The Role of Technology
Since we understand technology is a tool to help answer questions—and not the answer itself—we can use it wisely. Modern technology supplements more traditional learning methods, but it does not replace them.
Likewise, we must always be mindful of how what happens in the classroom relates to what happens at home. Montessori education builds on a foundation of lifelong self-directed learning. That is to say, we want all of our students to engage with those around them. We want them to seek to glean what they can from teachers of all kinds.
Anyone who has been around teenagers glued to their smartphones can tell you how disconnected they are. This is not only bad for the student; it’s also bad for the family and community. And it highlights how people can misuse technology.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends developing a plan that guides and governs media use. This plan should not just be for the children, but the family as a whole. Other recommendations include:
• ensuring media use does not replace sleep, exercise, or other healthy behaviors
• designating “media-free” times and areas
• maintaining ongoing communication about media safety and respect
All of these certainly dovetail with a Montessori education. Note that the AAP does not call for an outright ban. From the simple hammer or screwdriver to the latest tablets and virtual reality headsets, we must be ready to put the technology available to us to good use.
Technology should never be in the driver’s seat. In other words, we ensure students are in control at Innovation Academy. Developing a healthy relationship with technology as a child can help create beneficial habits that pay off for a lifetime.
CONTACT US to find out more about the ways we use technology (or not) in the classroom at Innovation Academy.
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STEM Education | Innovation Academy Montessori