A little off topic today.
Each evening I help my kids with their homework. They are both very capable with computers. My daughter has been blogging about her pets since she was 8 (she is 10 now). She creates blog entries complete with multi media with no assistance from me. Other than creating the Blogger template for her, all of the work is her own. My son is the wizard of Wikipedia which he discovered on his own a few years back. The fact that my kids are computer savvy gives them a huge advantage when it comes to learning.
For example, my son has a weekly technology project where he must report on how certain technologies work. Like me, he is fascinated by how things are manufactured. So each week we pick an item that we are familiar with and he Google's it. Then we find a video on the manufacturing process like the one below about how bubble gum is made.
This is so much more effective than how I had to learn. I was forced to use either an outdated encyclopedia that my parents purchased or I had to go to the town library. Neither of these experiences offered rich media options. I often had to perform a ton of reserach to get the desired knowledge in order to write my papers. My son and I are able to knock these weekly assignments out in a half hour. At the same time he gets to see the actual manufacturing process in the video which enhances the learning experience. Then he notices similar videos and starts learning how marbles are manufactured.
It is so obvious to me that this generation can consume large amounts of pertinent information in short periods of time. My kids are very up to speed on the current election process and even know who the Governor of Florida is. I am not sure I knew who the governor of NY was when I grew up there in high school. This is the beauty of Web 2.0 and Internet technologies. The whole ranking, tagging, and social networking processes that are taking place are allowing my kids to learn about the world around them.
Here is another great example. My daughter gets assigned a science project. So I am prepared to carve out numerous hours each night to help her get this done. Instead, I see here collaborating with classmates on Google Talk and exchanging links and images. She would draft a story board on paper, scan it, and send it to her classmate. I was floored. She completed the entire project without my help using free collaboration technology on the web. And she's 10 years old! So I ask myself. Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
A little off topic today.
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