“…COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1.
Our children, who were born after 1995, have always known the world to have the internet. To say they are comfortable with technology is an understatement. They enjoy and crave the interactivity and immediacy of response that personal computers and the like provide – plus they seem to be able to do a number of things at once while using technology. I find it remarkable how my boys can follow a television program, have a conversation with a friend while seemingly concentrating on playing an electronic game. (Yet they always seem to be able to tune me out. Go figure.)
How can reading a book compare to the stimulus of the world wide web? Sitting still focused on one thing, letting your brain form the pictures and think about what you are reading… sounds kinda dull when you could use mom’s smart phone to play a game which illustrates the story and gives you immediate results.
Parents and teachers are working in a tough environment to teach children the fundamentals and excite them to learn. The old school way of learning with books, paper and pencils and independent thinking is folding into the new world with bring your own digital devices to school and collaborative group work. Parents and teachers are navigating this territory at the same time. How about we do it together by sharing our experiences, learnings and resources?
If you are a teacher or a parent and you have found a fantastic resource which you think everyone should know about, I invite you to share your findings here.
Here are some resources which I think are wonderful:
Have you checked out www.teachingkidsnews.com? It is a current affairs website for parents, educators and children grades 2 to 8 whose articles are always up to date and written in a manner which children can understand as well as gain greater insight into the situation.
Plus, for educators and parents there are activity and discussion guides provided as suggestions.
Why I love the site?
Easy to read
Updated frequently so content is current
Wonderful variety of articles allowing children to find what appeals to them most
Great writing and discussion guides which help readers to think and form their own opinions on topics
Provides context such as history of a situation, rules of a game, relationship of situations, etc.
Learning to read is a life skill that everyone wants to see their child achieve. Some children will love to read and their imaginations will take them to far away lands. Others just aren’t interested. I believe that if the child enjoys the subject matter then they can become excited about learning. In current affairs there is always something that can interest each person – sports, entertainment, science, etc..
Additionally, reading with discussion can develop critical thinking, development of opinions and so many other skills. Why should learning be concentrated on the development of one skill at a time? This is why I love the exercise of reading the news and discussing it with my family. I would like my children to develop an understanding of current events and their impact on our lives.
As a parent I really find the content of the http://www.commonsense.org website to be topnotch for reviews of all forms of media but more importantly, a resource for parents and educators on how to help teach children digital literacy.
Straight from their website: “Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.
We exist because our nation’s children spend more time with media and digital activities than they do with their families or in school, which profoundly impacts their social, emotional, and physical development . As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, we provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.”
While based in the US, their content is very relevant to their Canadian neighbours as we share so many traits. I encourage parents and teachers to spend some time on their site – playing their games and reading their reviews with their families. You will come away feeling better enabled for the media world we live in.