- Play games with their children: While playing games such as Mario Cart or Minecraft, parents can probe their children's thinking and ask reflective questions about the choices they are making in the software. They can discuss decision making and make predictions!
- Read digital books and articles together: Co-reading allows parents to help children navigate language, ask questions, summarize ideas and reflect on what they are learning about. In addition, by using digital resources and articles, parents can help to teach media literacy by asking children to look for the author, bias, purpose and evidence in the article.
- Help children become content creators: Work with your child to create content online. Build a blog together, develop a podcast, co-create a story together with Google Docs or Story Wars, collaborate on a Wiki, use code to build a game in Scratch or Scratch Jr, create a song in Garageband or Soundtrap, or set up a company or charity! There are so many options to help a child pursue their interests, passions or learn more topics they may not know about.
- Explore the world: Parents can download apps to explore the world. Some apps would include Google Cardboard Virtual Trips, Google Street Explorer, GeoHunts or Goosechase to build local scavenger hunts, learn about other cultures with Touchable Earth, exploring and contributing to local history, setting up ePals are just a few places to start!
- Prepare for new experiences: Help children get ready to try new adventures or prepare for new life experiences. Everything from learning to use the potty, to learning how to cook, to writing an email to a local representative, to a first babysitting job. There are apps and resources for just about every new experience.
It takes a village to support children in using technology tools for their cognitive growth. Often, parents want to know how to help their child use technology to learn and not just for pure entertainment. The Cooney Center has put together a nice report highlighting some easy activities where parents can co-engage with their children on using technology tools. Below we highlight some of these ideas and modify some to include other digital resources:
Liz Kolb is a clinical assistant professor of education technologies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She works with over 150 preservice teachers every year on integrating technology into K-12 teaching.
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