Using the Internet for Education

Children across the country received new computers, Kindles, iPods, iPads, and smartphones during the holiday season. There’s so much talk of technology and its effectiveness yet parents still ask how to best utilize the internet, a tool that’s been around for years and is readily available in homes and schools across the country.Without proper structure the internet can be a dangerous place for children. By following a few guidelines, it can be a great place for your kids to explore all sorts of topics.

Be careful what you “wiki” for
One misspelled word in a search engine and a host of unwanted websites or images could pop up. It’s best to supervise this step closely. Write down the word your child is searching for in big, bold letters so he can copy it into the search engine. Your best bet is to add commonly used sites as a bookmark so they are only one click away.Rely on old reliable

View websites of well-established companies or organizations like Scholastic, NASA, or the Museum of Natural History. Though they may have products for sale, these sites typically offer lots of free content that is appropriate for children of all ages. There’s a reason well-known sites are well-known; teachers, parents, and children have benefited from them before.

Do your homework before your kids do their homework

Visit sites before you send your kids to them. Take a few minutes to explore sites so you can choose activities that will best benefit your child.

Avoid sites that are too “busy”

Look at the amount of advertisements. Avoid sites that are loaded with ads or seem “gimmicky.” Your child could click on an ad and view unwanted material.

Visit the library

The library that just knows books is a thing of the past. The role of the school librarian has evolved with the influx of new technology available. The librarian’s title is now “Library Media Specialist” which incorporates all forms of media. This person is likely a great resource for academic sites that will benefit your child’s skill development.

Join the social media revolution

Though you didn’t grow up with the incredible technology available to your children today, you must familiarize yourself with it so you can maximize your participation, supervision, and guidance in your home. You will find thousands of resources on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Teachers and parents are using social media sites to organize and connect people to share skills, tips, and materials to better educate children. On Twitter, start by following well-known people and organizations then see who they follow- it’s a simple way to expand your social media circle. Parents are often concerned about their own privacy on these sites but you have options as to what information is available to the public. Don’t be afraid to join social media sites solely for the purpose of gathering information. It’s out there and it’s yours for the taking.

Jennifer is an educational consultant who works with families and educators to establish healthy and productive routines in the home and school. Adapting behavior management techniques she implemented for years as a special educator, she helps parents and teachers adopt these tools to fit their unique needs and priorities. Jennifer also speaks to parent and education groups on current topics in education and children’s health. Visit¬†¬†for more information.