Monday, September 6, 2010

Avoiding the Digital Daze

What is a digital age learner? In an age when a computer is as naturally a household resource as our kitchen sink, children are learning and connecting in ways beyond our childhood imaginations. To the older child, the computer has become a staple in social interactions, a standard resource for unanswered questions, and a virtual portal to the otherwise inaccessible world.

So what does this mean for our youngest learners? It means that upon entering school, they will be asked not only to navigate a computer, but to use one to create digital content, determine resource credibility, share ideas and construct knowledge with students around the world. That might sound like a daunting task to a parent that was not brought up in the digital age…so how can you help prepare your child?

The answer is not to teach your child how to use technology, but how to interact with technology. There is a difference between a child that has tuned out the world to spend three hours playing a video game and a child that is utilizing technology to take their ideas and transform them into reality. I fondly refer to the former as the 'digital daze'. It's that 'glazed over' look that your child's eyes gets when completely enthralled in a digital activity that has taken your precious cherub's brain (and subsequently, ears) captive.

Below are a few ideas that can engage your child in digital learning rather than getting trapped in a digital daze.

Digital Daze

Digital Learning

Playing Video Games4

Reconnect with loved ones far away. Take a moment to use your computer to allow your child to communicate with friends and family that they rarely see. There are many ways to accomplish this goal, but for now let me introduce you to Skype. Skype is a program that with the use of your computer’s web cam and microphone, grandma that lives across the country can see your child’s toothless smile and hear all about the dollar that the tooth fairy left without leaving the comfort of your homes.

Listening to an iPod4

Children love to explore with language and tend to be natural performers. Encourage your child to make up their own song and use your iPod’s voice recorder to create a one of a kind musical masterpiece. In guiding your child to become the creator of their own song, you are supporting their independence, creativity, self-esteem, as well as strengthening their oral language skills.

Watching Television4

Make a podcast! How many pieces of art do you have on your refrigerator? I am positive that each one tells a different story. Your child does not yet have the ability to express their thoughts in written words, but don’t let that fool you, they still have a story to tell. Take digital pictures of your child’s artwork and audio record them telling their story. You can use programs such as Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie to combine your child’s art and narrative to design their own movie!

Online Gaming 4

As a parent, it is our role to determine which online games are developmentally appropriate and foster an atmosphere of learning. Below are a few links as examples to get you started on your quest for finding quality learning games.


This is Daniel Cook


Count us In


Peep and the Big Wide World

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