Internet start pages are a great idea for kids. They put everything in one spot that they need to safely surf the net. You can put their favorite websites, as well as photostreams, games, more.
I suggest using one of the free start pages. Mine (see the image) is for my grade K-5 classes and includes the day’s websites, oft-used sites for fun and research, a To Do list, search tools, a calculator, a calendar of events, pictures of interest, rss feeds of weather, news, a graffiti wall and more. Click on the pictureto go to it and see what I’ve included.
Where mine is for a classroom, yours could have each of your child’s names on the tabs instead of the grade level and then age-appropriate activities for their needs. When you set this up, ask your child what s/he’d like to include.
I used protopage.com (Protopage can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone), but you can use netvibes or pageflakes.com. Start pages are an outreach of the ever-more-popular social networking. Most search engines offer them also (try iGoogle at www.google.com/ig). They all have a huge library of custom fields (called ‘flakes’ on Pageflakes) to individualize any home page. And, they’re all simple. Don’t be intimidated.
When you get yours set up, on the To Do list, put what the child should do to start each computer time. This gives them a sense of independence, adultness, as they get started while you’re wrapping something else up.
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This column first appeared in Ask a Tech Teacher on 6-29-2009 © AskATechTeacher. All rights reserved.