Friday, 5 April 2013
The Adventures of a Technology Native
Eli is almost three. One of his favourite things to do in the whole world is play on http://www.starfall.com/. If you haven't come across it before it's a US phonics site aimed at preschoolers. We actually pay a subscription to access the additional features of MoreStarfall, which has maths activities, nursery rhymes and stories. All of the three youngest children use it so it is very good value for us as homeschoolers.
Eli, despite not being able to talk very well yet, can access Starfall completely by himself. He turns on the computer and accesses the internet. When the search box appears he types in ST; from there he chooses starfall from the drop down box. Voila, he's on to his favourite site. And because of the content of the site, he is able to count and recognise letters, completely untaught by me.
It is so bizarre to think that I learned to read with Peter and Jane, from a book, with the help of my teachers. Here he is, at not yet three, becoming a self-directed learner. I know that there are dangers on the internet, and we are always vigilant to supervise him. BUT, there is also great potential. I think the key is to suspend fear and allow children supervised access within a safe framework. You could set up their own home page with shortcuts on to specific sites that you are happy with. Google and ask on places like http://www.mumsnet.com/ which sites other parents recommend,... and then sit back and watch. You might even learn a thing or two.