Aloha Friday: Teaching Kids About Computers
Computers are very important to me. After all, I work as a webmaster so I’m around computers all day. When I heard that NHL’s school wasn’t *really* teaching him about computers, but only letting them go online to visit some kid-oriented websites, I decided that *someone* had to teach him about computers. After all, computers are important in today’s society. A computer-literate child has more opportunities than a computer-illiterate one. I quickly decided that I should have semi-regular computer lessons with NHL.
First, NHL and I had a "setup" session. I set up a (limited, non-administrative) user account on my XP system and had him help me customize it. He got a chess set icon (since he loves chess) and a fish background. I also arranged some programs on his desktop. (More on those later.)
The next time our little "computer class" met, I taught him about some of the components in the computer (CPU, memory, hard drive) and had him power up the computer. Then I had him start FireFox and I taught him how to search Google, create Bookmarks and browse websites. Finally, I showed him how to turn the computer off.
For the third session, we played around with KIDO’Z (which I reviewed last year) and TuxTyping. The former is a kid-friendly web browser that presents them with kid appropriate (and parentally controlled) websites, videos and games. The latter is a typing game that helps kids learn the layout of the keyboard. The difficulty can be as simple as single letters falling to short words to long words. The words fall attached to fish that Tux the Penguin is waiting to eat. As you type the words correctly, the fish are prepared for Tux’s belly. Both are free.
Still to show him (though previously introduced) are TuxPaint, an excellent kid-friendly painting program, and TuxMath (aka Tux, of Math Command) a game where you need to protect your moon base against incoming comets by solving the math problems displayed on the comets. This game teach addition, multiplication, subtraction and division and can be configured everywhere from easy (type the number 7; 1 + 1 = ?) to difficult (? x 13 x 7 = -546). It also has a "Facteroids" game which plays as like Asteroids only with fractions. As NHL loves math, TuxMath is sure to be a favorite of his. I also plan to introduce him to word processing via the free OpenOffice.org.
My Aloha Friday question to you is: How do you teach your children about computers? What programs do you use? Any you can add to this list would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the MckLinky there if you are participating.