Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School With Technology and U.S. Cellular

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, but I only recommend products I believe in.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

I've already been enjoying the back to school photos my friends are posting online.  With school back in session for a week now in some places (Really!  One of my friend's children started in July!)  I wanted to write a post about using technology to get organized, stay on top of things to do (including assignments) and a bit on how technology is used in the classroom.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey showed that 74% of households with children under 18 have a tablet.  That's a great tool for your child to use, especially when a child is sick and misses school.  It's easy to message a classmate  -- or even a teacher to get assignments which can be completed at home.  I know when I was a child before the advent of so much wonderful technology, teachers were scrambling to figure out a cost effective way to get snow day work to us during January 1985.  The solution -- as I remember it anyway -- was make the kids who lived in town go to school one day (the fire exits were snowed shut!).  We were loaded down with more snow work and we were to call our friends who lived in the more rural areas.  How easy would it have been for the teachers if they could have posted assignments online and we could have picked them up instead of those of us who lived in town having to relay the message via phone to those who were still snowed in!  Even if you live in a warm area, the same holds true -- if school is missed for any reason, it's easy to get assignments.

Did you also know that tablets are being used in the classroom?  I'm a little more familiar with this because I have friends who have special needs children and I am more aware of them using tablets.  But all children can benefit from educational apps, eBooks, online videos to enhance learning, and Internet access.  A recent Student Mobile Device survey showed 87% of students would like using eBooks instead of traditional textbooks because it would be much less to carry in their backpacks.   I know when I was in school, from about November through March, we were required to take home all our textbooks every day even if we didn't have homework -- in case it snowed and we were off school a day.  That would have been much easier if we had eBooks.

Accessing the Internet opens up a whole world of learning.   With U.S. Cellular's reliable 4G LTE high speed network, this can be utilized for many different learning activities.  I remember when I was in second grade, we were class pen pals with a school from Oklahoma.  How fun would it have been if the technology existed back then to have used Skype or Facetime to have been able to "meet" each other at the end of the year?  Obviously, this could also be used to "bring in" guest speakers to a class who might not otherwise be able to visit.  My 4th grade class had a very unique opportunity -- we had someone from Australia visit.  My teacher had taught there for a couple years and a friend of his came to visit.  In the 1980s, the only way we could have a guest speaker was for them to physically come into our classroom.  Now, there's the technology available that a guest speaker could be on the other side of the world and be able to interact with a class of students in another hemisphere.

Another notable app is Teachers Assistant Pro which is a $3.99 download.  This allows teachers to keep track of classroom behavior and achievements as well as communicate with parents to help cut down on paper usage.

Dropbox is another great app.  This is a cloud based file sharing app.  Be it teachers storing data or students working together on a group project, this is a handy site to use.

Notability gives users the ability to take notes, record a lecture, journal, sketch ideas and more.  It can even be shared with others using iCloud or Google Drive.

But what about funding?  Every school could use more funding, right?  Well, U.S. Cellular is bringing back the Calling All Teachers promotion.  If you live in the U.S. Cellular footprint area and are a public school teacher, apply at and register as a U.S. Cellular affiliate teacher.  U.S. Cellular is fulfilling $1 Million of teacher projects for the 4th year!  So if your classroom is needing something your budget doesn't allow, apply and your project might be chosen!  Your project must be submitted between August 11 an September 21 to be eligible for this year's funding.

Finally, back to school is a great time to go over cell phone usage with your child.  The FREE Parent Child Agreement is a great tool to be able to start a conversation to make your child's cell phone experience safe and enjoyable for everyone.

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade and this is a sponsored post.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I can see how having this technology can really help students stay on top of it!! Good to know!