I have had several conversations over the years with people about what we should do to help our children with regards to technology skills. Neither my husband nor I are very technologically savvy, so this is something that does not come naturally to us.
I know that most kids today use computers so much from an early age that they almost instinctively seem to be able to navigate technology without difficulty. I'm not worried about that aspect of things; I'm thinking more of being able to use technology in high school/college/work for preparing reports, presentations, research papers, etc.
I never did manage to do much in this regard with my older son. I never even managed to teach him to type by touch. Now I'm reading articles that indicate most kids do NOT learn to type by touch any more, and they still seem to do okay, so I'm torn about whether or not this is an important skill or whether it's something that can fall by the wayside.
My older son had to take a computer skills course of some type when he returned to private school. But all it consisted of was making them do timed writings without looking at the keyboard, in spite of the fact that most of them could not type by touch; doing business letters, etc. There wasn't much to it at all! Surely there is something better we can offer our children....
Our library has done "research" programming in past that showed children how to use their various data bases, how to navigate the Internet (something most of them already know how to do), etc. While their information on data bases is good, without some practice, I'm not sure that it really sticks.
So this year I have taken an opportunity to enroll myself and my son in some computer offerings at our library that are really promoted for adults. They do allow children, but require a parent in the room with them if they are less than age 13. That's okay with me, because I need to learn this info, too!
Thus far this year, we have taken 8 hours of instruction regarding using the Word system. They provide us with a packet of info to take home for reference and there are always some practice exercises, too. Some of these can be used again at home for more practice later.
We just finished up Word instruction and will be beginning PowerPoint instruction (which is a total of four more hours of training) tomorrow. After that, there are Desktop Publishing classes that we will be taking this spring. They also offer Excel and other training sessions, as well....
I have also found some online tutorials for using these programs, too, and plan to continue with those next year:
http://www.microsoft.com/education/howto.mspx (these have specific work geared toward different ages of children)
And here's a free, online type by touch program in case I manage to find the time for him to work on that:
http://sense-lang.org/typing/ (there are other sites available, too)
How to use the web to do research:
And for teens/adults:
Here are some online scavenger hunts:
Hope someone else will find these useful, too!