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An article about computer usage myths reminded me of the research work completed by Jane Healy. The article’s author discusses the following concerns and concludes that computers should never take the place of hands on playing and exploration. School districts have reached the point where they are including more and more laptops in classroom and are using computers to change the way that they are delivering the curriculum.

Myth # 1. Computers will make my child smarter.

Myth # 2: Sitting close to a computer screen will damage my child’s eyes.

Myth # 3: Computers give off harmful radiation.

Myth # 4: My child will become less social by using the computer.

Myth # 5: My child should understand how computers work.

Myth # 6: Making my child computer literate now will better prepare her for the future.

Computers, software, CDs and Smart Toys should always be considered a supplement to other, more concrete learning activities like completing puzzles, building with sand and blocks, reading books, creating art projects and playing on the playground..”

To Consider:

How do you view your child’s computer literacy opportunities?

Do you feel that your child’s school takes full advantage of computer related teachable opportunities in an age appropriate way?

To Do:

* Become well acquainted with the ways that computers are used at your child’s school.

* Ask if there is a computer club at your school.

* Ask if there are enriched programmes in your school district that promote the use of computers at school.

* Think about the ways children should use computers, and think about ways that are not beneficial.

* If your household does not have a computer, ask if there are after hours open times at the school, and ask the librarian when there is the least amount of demand to use computers at the library.

* Search for good computer sales on Craig’s List.  Ask a computer savvy friend to help you purchase a computer.

* Let friends know that you are looking to buy a second hand computer.  Some people change their electronics so frequently that they would rather give/or practically give away their computer rather than cope with the requirements needed to recycle computers.

* If you are acquiring a computer second hand ensure that it is not too old. Sometimes it is not worth the effort to resurrect a fairly old computer system as they are not compatible with current software and Internet requirements.

* Think about how your child can integrate computer use into the daily requirements of school work and life at home.

* Read  Failure to Connect – How Computers affect our children’s minds and what we can do about it. by Jane Healy.

* Read Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour A. Papert

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Pamela Chan, Vancouver

In 2010 I started BCFamily.ca as a venue for dialogue about family-focussed news, information and opportunities in the Lower Mainland and British Columbia. My professional background includes experience teaching in Montessori and international schools in Canada and Japan; research/training regarding the Reggio Emilia programme, ECE issues and choice in public education in British Columbia; and experience working in an administrative position at Simon Fraser University. I completed my education and training at Queen’s University, Kingston (BA Hons.), Montessori Training Centre of BC (AMI Dipl., Primary Years ) and the University of British Columbia (M.Ed.). After living, working and studying in North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South East and East Asia, and spending time in the Caribbean, I now call the lower Mainland home along with my husband and two young children. I have been writing and publishing online content since 2004.

Photo by: Erich Saide Photography

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