I have talked a little bit about technology and homeschooling on this blog before, so I thought you would all be interested in an article from today’s guest blogger.
Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly the online school, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education
Here is what Lindsey has to say about technology and homeschooling.
Educational Benefits of Technology for Homeschooled Children
In recent years technology has been adapted to meet the needs of home-educated children in multiple ways. Since we live in such a technologically driven society, its has actually become impossible not to incorporate technology in the home educational realm. Students actually see technology as more of a source of entertainment however, like social networking and watching their favorite movies and T.V shows streaming online. Technology can be used as a very useful education tool though and in order to use it efficiently it is important to understand the most effective tools in technology that can help your child learn.
Before recommending great tools, it is helpful to understand why one would use technology in homeschooling. One main reason in particular is that it accommodates students with specific learning needs or disabilities. In a classroom full of students, children can get left behind if they can’t learn like the majority. This is not the case in homeschooling. According to an article in Pearl Journal, since technology is both accessible and flexible, there are tools and programs for all types of learners. For example, the electronic learning tool LeapFrog offers tactile and manipulative stimulation for kinesthetic learners.
Besides helping all students learn, no matter their disability or learning style, technology also benefits the average student because it helps them prepare for their future. Home-schooled students have a unique advantage in this case however, because they have the time to actually use technology. Since many home-schooled children are more dependent on educational technology than the average child they actually know how to use it better. This can benefit them in the very near future. Technology is completely changing the professional world; creating new jobs and changing the way old businesses and professions function. Homeschooled children who use technology actually attain more skills and experience for future careers.
There are multiple technological tools that parents or homeschooling teachers can use with students to help them learn. The great thing about technology is that not only does it engage students intellectually, but it is also makes learning fun as well. One fun, educational tool is making an online educational scrapbook. These scrapbooks are like the similar creative photo albums that one makes, but instead of collecting little keepsakes and fond memories, the educational scrapbook helps students collect information on a specific subject and helps them work on their writing skills. For example, a student can write mini essays or journal entries about a subject assigned to them and leave space to practice their creative skills by decorating it as well. Another suggestion is by choosing a certain subject and over a period of time collecting information and fun facts about that subject. For example, if a student is assigned a country to study they can create a scrapbook full of historic dates, facts, cultural artwork and more.
Another great educational tool is online classes. These are very helpful to homeschoolers when their teachers want them to delve into subjects on an in-depth level. Not only are students able to learn more independently through online classes, but it is also cost beneficial since many websites offer them for free. For example, Free World U is a nonprofit online school that offers classes for students K-12. The curriculum at Free World U is taught via flashcards that break subjects down into small, easily assimilated fact units. The flashcards are presented through a program that remembers what each student has learned and what he or she needs to keep working on. According to their website, students learn faster using their methods of online teaching.
Webquest is also another great tool to use when homeschooling. Basically, Webquest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. These can be created using various programs, including a simple word processing document that includes links to websites. Webquests are a great tool for students because not only does it help them stay on task when using the Internet, but they also support a variety of instructional and cognetiive practices such as critical thinking and problem solving through authentic assesment, cooperative learning, scaffolding, and technology integration.
All in all, incorporating technology for homeschoolers is very beneficial for students. Technology is helpful for these particular students because it provides a relief for parents in search of engaging lessons and accommodates tools that reinforce knowledge. Also, technology provides aid for children with special educational needs and families that travel or have busy schedules. Finally, homeschooling parents can have access to tools that can teach children independence and encourage an appreciation for learning.
As homeschoolers we really are well placed to take advantage of technology and make full use of it.
How are you using it with your children? And what advantages are you seeing?