A Report published by the OECD in September 2015, into the use of ICT in education, produced a finding that schools have yet to take advantage of the potential of technology in the classroom.(http://www.oecd.org/education/new-approach-needed-to-deliver-on-technologys-potential-in-schools.htm). As a parent you can encourage your child to take advantage of technology to contribute to their learning. At Zeeko we always start any presentation we make by saying that the internet is a fantastic resource and it really is! What is important is how the internet is navigated by both parents and children. The internet can also be an amazing educational resource in particular for children. In this blog we are going to offer you some advice on the do’s and don’ts of using the internet as an educational tool with your children.
The first thing to remember is to talk to your children about using the internet in a language that they understand. Your children are probably more familiar with the net than you are! So, try to familiarize yourself with some terms that they use regularly and start a conversation from there. This is a good starting point in general terms regarding use of the internet by children but also when using the internet as an educational tool. So let’s get specific about the some do’s and don’ts
Do your research! Make sure that any sites your children use for help with homework or projects have a strong educational base. National Geographic Kids, (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com) or BBC Education (http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/) are just two examples, but there are lots out there.
Help your children with homework and or projects where they are using the internet. This can be a great way to see how your child is doing academically, while still having fun. When children work on projects they often don’t feel the same pressure as if they were preparing for a test or completing a standard piece of homework. This means that they can be more relaxed and actually be learning more as a result!
Ask for advice. Link in with your child’s teacher or some schools have a teacher who has been given specific responsibility for ICT within the school, they will be able to offer some guidance on the best websites to use and may also be in position to know areas that your child needs to focus on if they are having a difficulty with a particular subject.
Do encourage your child to use what they find out via the internet as a starting point. Communicate to them the importance of using their own ideas, their imagination and putting forward their own point of view.
Don’t panic! If your child says they have a project to do for school and want to use the internet to do it. If you’re confident about using the internet as an educational tool your child will be too.
Don’t forget to apply the same principals you do to homework to doing projects online. If you feel your child is spending too long on the internet doing the research element of a project, encourage them to move on to another piece of homework and come back to the project later.
Don’t forget to remind your child about the Stop, Block Tell rule that we use at Zeeko, when we visit schools to talk to children about staying safe online. Stop; don’t respond to unwanted attention online. Block any people you don’t know and Tell your Chatbudi (an adult who you trust), how you are feeling about what you have seen online. Even if they are using the internet for educational purposes children can still come across inappropriate material.
Don’t feel under pressure to allow your child to constantly use the internet for homework or projects. It is important that your child see’s the internet as only one means of doing research and that there are many other ways to discover the answers to the questions they are asked!
So, without a doubt the internet is a very useful educational tool. It’s all about empowering yourself as a parent to educate your child to stay safe online. If you would like to learn more about keeping your child safe online then you can sign up for one of our parent workshops. You can also arrange a visit to your school, for a talk by Zeeko aimed specifically at parents through your PTA.