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Tech Coordinator: ‘Kids Are Always Connected’

August 12, 2013
By CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Whether using iPhones, iPads or other digital gadgets, children today are generally well-versed in computer technology.

So as students throughout the Upper Ohio Valley prepare to return to school, their parents should be aware of how these new devices may impact their education.

"Instead of going to the computer lab, they already have the computer lab with them," said Patrick Riddle, technology coordinator for Ohio County Schools, regarding most of today's students and their electronic devices. "Kids are always connected."

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Photo by Casey Junkins
Patrick Riddle, technology coordinator for Ohio County Schools, said computers and electronic devices can be useful in the classroom, but said parents should be aware of how their children use the devices.

Because the majority of children have their own electronic devices, Riddle said parents need to be aware of the security settings to make sure the students are safe. Any parent not familiar with the safety features of their child's computer, cell phone or other device should consult the store where they purchased the items or contact the manufacturer.

"It is just like teaching someone to ride a bike or drive a car. You can't just send them out to drive without giving them instructions," Riddle said.

"It is the same thing with electronic devices. And these are not just toys. There is a lot of power to be had with these connections."

Although most students have access to handheld electronic devices or desktop computers at home, Riddle said the school district acknowledges that some may not be able to afford them. "Any assigned computer work can be completed in school," Riddle said. "If it can't be finished during regular class time, teachers will make arrangements for it to be completed."

Through it all, Riddle said technology can have a positive impact on the educational system, as long as parents, students, teachers and administrators are all on the same page.

"These are the changing times," Riddle said. "And there will be even more advances in the coming years."

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