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Millennial Parents: Schools Could Do Better Teaching Tech

Millennial parents aren't necessarily happy with the track schools are following in teaching technology to their kids — and among students, girls are less satisfied than boys. That's what the Center for the Digital Future found out when it drilled down into on-going survey work. The center is part of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. The latest work was a collaborative effort between the center and research firm Bovitz.

Overall, the researchers found that most — 56 percent — parents and students find the technological facilities in their schools at least "adequate." The same percentage of parents said they believe teachers are "adequately" preparing their students to use new technologies. Students themselves aren't so sure; only 46 percent said they agreed with that statement.

When the parent respondents were grouped by age, those who fall into the Millennial Generation — those who are currently the youngest parents — reported less confidence than any other age group. According to the findings, only 47 percent of parents aged 18 to 34 said teachers in their children's schools are "adequately preparing them to use new technologies," compared to 59 percent of non-Millennial parents. Fifty-one percent of Millennial parents said the technology in schools was adequate, compared to 56 percent of non-Millennials.

Differences also surfaced in how male and female students judged technological facilities in schools and their teachers' abilities in educating them about new technologies. While only half of female students said they agreed that the technology in their schools was adequate, reports of satisfaction went up to 65 percent among male students. And while half of male students told researchers they considered teachers adequately prepared to help them use new tech, only 43 percent of female students did.

"America's future is based on technology, yet barely a majority of parents and students think schools are up to the challenge of training the next generation of technology users," said Center Director Jeffrey Cole. "We believe that America can make great strides in improving education if a new generation of teachers from the Millennial generation — those born into using technology — has the opportunity to shape the next era of instruction."

Added Bovitz President Greg Bovitz, who is also a senior fellow at the center, "It's a clear case of digital adopters teaching digital natives. In the current classroom, the students have an innate advantage when it comes to technology."

These results come from supplemental survey work done with the Center's Digital Future Project research, which covers subjects such as privacy, social media use and use of technology at school. The "Topical Survey," from which this was culled, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.