Before we go any further, make sure your child understands the different parts of the computer. If they’re 1st grade or younger, have them touch each part as you discuss it. Chat about the part. Click both buttons on the mouse. Use the scroll–see how the screen moves. Change volume on the headphones. Turn the monitor on and off.
Next, show them where each part connects to the computer. Have them plug in and disconnect the headphones, the microphone (if available). Show them the icons that tell where the plug goes. Peek around the back of the CPU–see all the plugs and wires. Are they all plugged in? Point out the duplex where the system is plugged into the wall. That has to be connected to work (you judge if they can touch this).
For k, 1, that’s it. Remind them throughout the following weeks, but that’s it. Repetition is the key to learning. For 2 and up, review the worksheet on this page. Fill it out with them and then have them complete it by themselves. That’s it. From here on, just be sure to use the right words for each part and insist they do to. It’ll stick.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
This is a question I get from parents all the time, with two follow-on questions: At what age does a child need a computer at home, and what should be included?[caption id="attachment_3493" align="alignright" width="227"] Just the basics[/caption]
Every parent I know wants to get what their child needs, as affordably as possible but they don’t want to save a few bucks at the expense of their child. Here’s my suggestions:
- You’re wondering whether a desktop is good for your child, or do they need a laptop? There are lots of reasons why a laptop might be a good decision for your particular family dynamics, but in general terms, a desktop is fine for a younger child (K-5). They don’t need to take it to friend’s house for group projects much until they reach middle school, and I would not suggest gearing a more-expensive laptop decision around an occasional project.
- There are other reasons why a desktop is a good decision. It is more durable (it isn’t carried around, so can’t be dropped). If the monitor breaks, you don’t have to replace the entire computer–just the monitor. Because it’s cheaper, it can be replaced if your child somehow destroys it or part of it (this should be expected of new users). And, a desktop has a larger hard drive, more memory and more drives/ports for input devices. That makes it more adaptable to unexpected needs.
- Now you need to select which level of desktop your child requires. Does he need the basic $350 on sale version or the everything-in-it upgrade? Start simple. Basic. See what the child uses, what else he needs before making an expensive decision. Most kids are fine with the lower end of productivity. Some, though, want the works. You’ll know by the time you’re ready for an upgrade. (more…)