Home learning with an ICT twist
Whether we like it or not, our kids are fast becoming the techno-experts of the 21st century. And while us mums and dads might pride ourselves on finally figuring out how to configure our Outlook, or use PowerPoint, our humble skills can eat our kids’ cyber-dust.
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In fact, according to recent research our children now spend more hours in front of a computer screen than they do in front of the television – but this can be a good thing. Tapping into your child’s interests through fun, educational, and interactive ICT programmes and games can support and extend your child’s learning in school, not to mention give them a valuable ICT head-start in life. And you never know - you might even pick up a new skill or two in the process!
Why use learning software at home?
If used effectively, there are plenty of fantastic learning programmes which can really help make the difference between a child who feels left behind in classes, and the euphoria of one who discovers they can do the work; they just need a different approach to it. Allowing children to work at their own pace, most learning programmes will offer the option of progressing through a variety of different levels to challenge and extend learning further.
While homework seems to suffer from a boring and somewhat stuffy image with kids being acutely aware of it as being separate from their ‘play’ time, learning programmes on the computer have a more fun and less formal approach to education. More often than not a child will see the programme as a game, and not even realise how much they are learning.
And the whole interactive learning process isn’t just reserved for your child. By encouraging your child to try various learning programmes at home, you’ll become more aware of what stage your child is at with their learning, understand their successes, how you can help them, and maybe even learn something yourself.
How to use learning software effectively
- Speak to your child's school to find out what software they use, and see if they can recommend any home versions.
- Remember to use age and even subject-specific software for your child. This will help them focus on an area they may need extra help with and keep their learning relevant.
- Choose the programmes with your child. They will be far more willing to use them if they’ve had a choice in the matter.
- Spend some time with your child doing the activities together. It can be a fun way for you to support your child’s learning, while doing a sneaky assessment of where they are at with things, and what they could improve on.
- Be critical of the software – make sure your child is benefitting from it and that they are using it correctly.