6-8 Resources: Technomania
“Literacy” used to refer to the person who was accomplished at reading and writing. The definition of “Literacy” just expanded to include the person who is accomplished at using all that modern technology has to offer. Consider how our lives have changed as the result of computers, handheld devices, smart phones, software and apps. If we are going to educate our children to work and play in this world, technological skills are essential. Therefore a literate child is a child who can take advantage of all technology has to offer.
Read and review the Internet Safety Tips for Kids and Teens found at this site created by the National Children’s Advocacy Center. It has many links to important guidelines to keep kids safe on the Internet.
- Internet Safety Tips for Kids and Teens
- More Basic Internet Safety Tips
- Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens
What is a search engine? It is an Internet tool that allows you to search for answers to burning questions or concerns. Some examples of search engines are Google, Yahoo! or Bing, just to name a few. Keep in mind that just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean it is a correct answer to your question. Often times a search engine produces the most popular answer to a question, rather than the most truthful or unbiased.
How do you conduct a search using a search engine? This best way to learn how to use a search engine is to use the tutorials built into the tool. For example, go to Google.com. On the opening page you will find in the lower, left corner, the word ABOUT. Click it to find out how to conduct a good search for whatever you need. Review this with younger children and have your older children take some time to read it themselves.
Are You Plugged In
What digital devices do you have at home? Do you have a computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, planner, video camera or health-monitoring device? Ask your child what digital devices exist in his classroom: smart board, computer, portable laptops, LCD projector, electronic responders, software programs and voice enhancer, just to name a few. What is important is that your child learns to use the devices to gather information, evaluate and use it to solve real world problems. If you live in a technology-free home, perhaps you can visit your library to become familiar with online resources. Pick an online Live-CAM site that sparks your interest. Follow it for at least five days. Keep a log of current status and changes each day. Here is a list of live cam sites you might enjoy:
- Discovery.com Animal Cams
- Live Bald Eagle Nest Cameras
- Aquarium Webcams
- Satellite, Weather, and Space Cams
- San Diego Zoo Live Animal Cams
- 50 Activities to Promote Digital Media Literacy in Students (PDF)
Online Learning Opportunities Bring the Expert to You
The Internet can provide innumerable opportunities to learn about topics, get help with homework, access reference tools and experience real world happenings via podcasts. There is unprecedented access to information via the Internet. Here are some resources just to get you started.
What is a Webinar? It is a seminar conducted online. It is a great resource for learning about a topic that is either live or recorded for viewing anytime. There is a vast collection of webinars that are open to you on every topic under the sun.
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Thesaurus
- Online Grammar and Spell Check
- National Weather Service
- World Resources Institute (Great Resource for Maps)
- Florida Electronic Library (Great Site for Homework Help Specific to Florida)
- Reading Homework Tips for Parents
- Florida Department of State—Homework Help with Projects about the Sunshine State
- Broward County Schools—Homework Help and Resources
Social Media Literacy
The use of social media—the electronic means of sharing content like pictures and messages—has exploded in recent years and can be a great way for your child to explore his or her world. Social media sites include Facebook, Blogster, Twitter, Instagram and many others. These media allow students to interact on school projects, keep in touch with friends and family and produce their own content for distribution worldwide! Parents must provide oversight to keep children safe.
What is Your Child Doing Online?
Read the article below. Pay a visit to your child’s favorite social media site and discuss the items listed regarding privacy settings, friends and policy at school regarding social media. Use the questionnaire for discussion points.
- The Secret Life of Kids Online: What You Need to Know
- Social Media Literacy: The Five Key Concepts
- A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety
- Guidelines for Parents of Pre-Teens
- 9 Social Media Red Flags Parents Should Know About
Outsmarting the TV
Studies show that on average children in the U.S. spend about 28 hours a week in front of a television. Too much TV is not good, but watching TV is not necessarily bad either. There are many things parents can do to make this activity beneficial and promote literacy. Let’s look at some of the ways we can make TV watching educational.
Quality over Quantity
Choose programs as a family. Ask is this program worth watching? Avoid mindless TV watching. Select programs with a productive purpose in mind such as learning more about a topic being studies in school, exploring interests and hobbies, learning a new skill. Decide what hours of the day the TV should be turned off to make time for other positive activities such as reading books, eating dinner as a family, doing homework, etc. Use the time during commercials to discuss the program. Try asking some of the following questions to help your child apply the same strategies readers use to get more out of the television program. Research shows that when parents guide discussions during commercials, it gives their children practice the same comprehension skills used for reading!
- Why did the character do or say that?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Who are the main characters?
- When or where does the story take place?
- Ask your child to recall the sequence of events. What happened first, second, third… .
- Is there a lesson or moral to learn?
- What new words did we learn?
Challenge: Documentaries are similar to reading non-fiction books. Next time your family is watching a documentary, try making a game of quizzing one another on facts learned during the commercials. Focus on the main ideas just as you would do when reading a book on the same topic.