Teachers and school information-technology pros agree that even children as young as ages seven through 10 benefit from using computers. From the places they can "visit" virtually to the life-applicable skills they learn, computers provide valuable tools to enhance children's learning and contribute to their education. Whether your children use your family computer as the focus of projects or as the means of recording progress during them, you can encourage technology literacy along with specific lessons.
Beginning computer literacy starts with an understanding of the parts of a system, what they do and how they work together. Despite the prevalence of computers in modern life and the fact that youngsters grow up surrounded by them, they need to start their actual involvement with them through a systematic approach to the basics. From game-like lessons that teach computer "anatomy" to programs that help build typing and keyboard-use skills, these introductions ground your children's awareness of functions and features.
Even grade-school-aged children can begin learning to program computers, from programming languages that work on tablets and desktop or notebook computers to beginner approaches to Web programming. You can set up the resources your children need to start with easy projects that resemble video games and move up to tutorials that build skills applicable to full-fledged projects. These activities encourage involvement in STEM curricula—science, technology, engineering and math—that form a vital part of fields inside and outside the technology sector.
Artwork & Storytelling
On desktop and notebook computers as well as through tablets, your children can explore their artistic talents and create their own picture books. You can incorporate photographs that your children snap with your smartphone or digital camera into the mix of artwork sources, helping them expand the boundaries of their digital literacy and their interest in the world around them. Whether the stories they write fulfill classroom assignments or grow out of topics that catches their special interest at school, these projects can relate to family history, pets, sports, famous people or any subject matter that captivates them.
Thinking About Learning
Elementary-school-aged children begin to master a process called metacognition—thinking about thinking—in which they broaden their understanding of how they learn. Computers can help children master subject matter in topic areas that fall outside their demonstrated natural strengths. A child whose verbal abilities manifest themselves early can use at-home screen time to focus on math. A math whiz can build vocabulary through games that focus on language arts. Provided that these at-home lessons don't take over all your children's play time and unfairly curtail their involvement in healthful physical activity, computers can help them build on their growing understanding of their own minds. To help your children organize what they want to learn and to give them a means through which to show their progress, record camcorder or smartphone video of their sessions..
Photo Credits: Anne Dale/Demand Media
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