My two sons registered for school, and for the first time, I am a bit anxious in what the year will bring. Not because they are not capable, but like many parents, I fear I may not be.

Many of us didn’t grow up with the technology available to our children inside and outside of their classrooms, and while we realize how integral technology is for learning, as parents, we may no longer feel confident in our ability to engage in this new environment. Yet we know we must prepare our children for the future and enable them to make the connections to our world.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” And while we may not know or even understand this technology path, taking those first steps, together with our children and their teachers, is critical, now more than ever.

Studies have shown that when parents play an active role in their child’s education, the child achieves greater success regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background or the parents’ own level of education, as published in a statement issued by the National Science Teachers Association.

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This heightened level of interaction will definitely require a shift in parental mindset in how to provide the support and space needed for our children to become active agents of their own learning. We can begin by creating a home environment where our children, using their phones, tablets and/or computers create a bridge from their classrooms, fostering learning and memorable experiences.

The first steps are often the hardest, but worth taking:

  1. Give our children ownership of their learning. Empower our children to use technology as part of the learning process with online tools, tutorials and video.
  2. Make the topics compelling and real. Determine how to make subjects exciting outside the classroom; find a way through real-life situations or through examples around the world.
  3. Engage. Resist the urge to provide the answers. Seek to understand. Ask questions and start a conversation.
  4. Leverage your community. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we can’t do it alone. Find a parent group or family that could assist in this technology transition.

The 2016 National Education Plan released by the U.S. Department of Education states, “when carefully designed and thoughtfully applied, technology has the potential to accelerate, amplify and expand the impact of learning.”

While every school, campus, district and the families they serve are not connected equally, one parent, one community, one step at a time, can make a tremendous difference in empowering our children and preparing them for the future. Let’s take that first step together!


Lyanne Paustenbach

No Longer with Cisco