What Does a Future Ready Parent Look Like?
The “future ready” movement seeks to increase digital learning tools in the schools. While the focus of the effort is on school leaders, that doesn’t mean that a parent can’t be future ready. And it is certainly the case that a student would benefit from having a future ready parent. So what does a future ready parent look like? He or she has four characteristics:
First, they recognize that not all edtech actually improves student learning. A company can make a wide variety of claims—but the evidence may not back up what the marketing department promises. Many companies often commission and release their own research touting their success, but this research may not meet the standards for academic research. So, the future ready parent must carefully assess edtech in order to be sure that their children are using materials that will actually benefit them.
Second, wise parents know that while edtech is not precisely the same thing as playing a video game, there are still concerns about children having too much screentime. While the best edtech can certainly help students develop vital skills, it also must be balanced with developmental experiences in the “real world.” Children need to learn how to interact with other people and to manage their responses to boredom. They need time to imagine and create and interact. So while future ready parents understand the advantages of digital tools, they also know when to say when.
Third: the future ready movement focuses on preparing students for college and career readiness. This means that the future ready parent has to think about the long-term: What does my child want to pursue as an adult? What training will this require? What entrance requirements will they be expected to meet? What “soft skills” and study skills will they need? This emphasis can help parents curate the nearly infinite array of edtech tools in order to select those tools that will most benefit their unique child.
Fourth, being future ready means having an eye toward digital equity. This implies that parents will care not only about the academic success of their own children but also about the success of children who are disadvantaged in some way. This concern might manifest as volunteering time to tutor disadvantaged children or as making a donation to increase digital access for an underfunded school. Either way, it means that parents look beyond the needs of their own child to consider those of the larger community.