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Children Getting the Most out of Computers

Created by: Dr. Felecia Nace, Family and Community Relations Office, New Jersey Department of Education

Technology skills are important in developing children for college and career. A computer holds a wealth of knowledge that can help children learn, but it also contains incorrect and inappropriate information.   If you want your child to get the most out of the time he or she spends on the computer, one thing you can do is set aside some ‘family computer time.’  This could be a good time for families to get together and research topics that children in the household want to know more about.

Family time spent on the computer can be very informative and interesting.  This block of time would allow families to learn new facts together and hold lively conversations about what they have discovered.  There are so many creative, educational, and fun uses for the computer.  The possibilities are endless!

Children of all ages are naturally curious about the world, so why not encourage that curiosity?  Children ask questions that we don’t always have the answers to, and that’s okay.  It is simply a matter of knowing where to find the answers.  Many answers can be found on the internet if you search reliable websites.  Choosing a reliable website is important because not all websites contain correct information.

As children prepare for college and careers, they will need to know how to tell the difference between websites that contain factual information and those that do not.  Talk to your children about the importance of choosing sites that contain dependable information.  Click here to find out more about how to choose reliable websites:  http://kathyschrock.net/abceval/5ws.pdf.

One educational activity that many families find entertaining is to take virtual tours.  If you are not able to personally visit museums and historical sites, there are virtual tours online that you can access from your home or by using a computer at your local library.  Museums and historical places can be of tremendous value to children as they prepare for college and careers.

Trips to museums, historical sites and virtual tours can expose children to many different cultures through art, ancient artifacts, and history.  Be sure to do some research about the museum or historical site before you share the virtual tour with your child.  Discuss background information with your child ahead of time about the museum’s history and location. Plenty of maps are available online.  This will help get your child interested in the tour.  Afterward, you can ask your child to discuss or write about the virtual tour experience.  Here are just a few sites:

http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org/tour/virtualtour.php 
(Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Ogdensburg NJ)

http://www.newarkmuseum.org/museum_pages.aspx?id=406
 (Newark Museum, Newark, NJ)

http://www.visitingdc.com/white-house/virtual-tour-white-house.htm
(The White House, Washington, D.C)

http://www.randafricanart.com/Met_museum_virtual_tour.html  
(The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York)

http://www.mnh.si.edu/panoramas/flashVersion/index.html
(Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C)

http://musee.louvre.fr/visite-louvre/index.html?defaultView=rdc.s46.p01&lang=ENG 
(Le Louvre Museum, Paris, France)

http://amsterdam.arounder.com/en/museums/van-gogh-museum/van-gogh-museum-01.html (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Holland)

Enjoy the family fun and educational journey as you continue to discover all the possibilities that the computer has to offer!