LAVALLETTE — Lavallette Elementary School is working with Converlation Inc. of Sea Girt to implement a multi-week program to teach students about safe use of technology.
Lisa Gleason, superintendent and principal, is spearheading the program. The program started two weeks ago, when Ms. Gleason showed sixth graders a film about how technology can alter someone’s life in a negative way.
Prior to being at Lavallette Ms. Gleason said she had the pleasure to work with Kathy Van Benthuysen, director of curriculum for Converlation, who was one of the representatives from Converlation in the classroom for this continuing lesson on March 15. The other representative was CEO of Converlation John Schwind.
“Converlation does not teach students that technology is some evil force,” said Mr. Schwind, “but rather a tool that can be used responsibly.”Ms. Gleason began her lesson by telling the students that, “technology is ubiquitous, in both a positive and damaging way.” Ms. Van Benthuysen echoed this by saying, “We think tech is amazing, when used as a tool and not just entertainment.”
“[Technology] is not going away, so we as educators have a responsibility to teach children to use technology effectively, responsibility and in a way that helps us and doesn’t harm us,” said Ms. Gleason. She also said she personally teaches this lesson because when there is a problem with technology, the situation ultimately ends up with her having to resolve it.
Mr. Schwind said this is what makes Converlation stand out from other programs that teach about internet and technology safety. He said the goal of Converlation is to get people talking, so both students and parents can have better conversations and stronger relationships, hence the name.
Teaching students is not the only aspect Converlation aims to accomplish, said Mr. Schwind, going on to say that the lessons taught are just as important for the parents to learn. The parent component is sent out via email where the parents interact with the students in the same lesson plans that were taught.
“We teach [students] that they are being tracked, they are being manipulated, all for the benefit of these big tech companies making money off them,” said Mr. Schwind.
This will be a six-week course to the students that both Ms. Gleason and Converlation hope will leave lasting impacts upon the students.
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