Developing Your Techno-Literacy
Get Techno-Literate Yourself
Every time I get with the program, someone changes the channel.” I’ve heard several variations of this over the years from many of the adults I have worked with. Chances are that you are overwhelmed at the thought of learning about technology, I do understand. In fact, because a significant part of my career has focused on counseling technology, I often feel like I have to keep up with two areas of discipline: professional counseling and educational technology. However, there is some good news. First of all, you don’t have to learn it all at once. Develop a series of goals for yourself that includes small and consistent steps towards an overall program of “keeping up.” You have already started by reading this book. Take what you’ve learned here, use the supplementary websites and references, and continue advancing your knowledge and skills a little bit each day. Before you know it, you’ll be speaking “bytes” and “gigs” with the rest of us. Here are some other tips for developing your techno-literacy:
- Subscribe to e-mail newsletters (most are free) that focus on helping you become more technologically literate. This way, the tips and tricks for dealing with technology come to you in a manageable way. For instance, some of the more popular periodic newsletters include:
- Technology Horizons in Education (T.H.E.) is a free magazine for educators dedicated to technology solutions in education. http://www.thejournal.com/
- Edutopia Magazine gives practical, hands-on insight into what works, what’s on the horizon, and who is shaping the changing future of education. http://www.edutopia.org/
- ResearchBuzz is designed to cover the world of Internet research. To that end this site provides almost daily updates on search engines, new data managing software, browser technology, large compendiums of information, Web directories — whatever. If in doubt, the final question is, “Would a reference librarian find it useful?” If the answer’s yes, in it goes!. http://www.researchbuzz.com/
- Ask Bob Rankin about computers, viruses, spyware, search engines or almost anything about the Internet. http://www.askbobrankin.com/
- Technology tips and news from Kim Komando, the “Digital Goddess.” http://www.komando.com/
- On-Line Technology Tutorials From Around the World Wide Web. http://www.internet4classrooms.com/on-line2.htm
- Internet for Information and Communication Technology (A free, “teach yourself” tutorial that lets you practice your Internet Information Skills). http://www.vts.rdn.ac.uk/tutorial/ict
- Interview your child about the latest and greatest technologies from his/her perspective. Ask as if you don’t know such as, “I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about how he was listening to his podcast, do you know what that is?” You may be surprised to learn just how much your child understands (after they get over the shock of you using the techno-lingo).
- Use any popular search engine with keywords presented in this book (e.g., social network, cell phone and children, iPod, etc.) and add the word “tutorial” which will result in all kinds of valuable demonstrations and instructions. I have also found that the keywords “parenting technology” [without the quotes] work very well at uncovering valuable resources.
- Go online as if you were a child. Search blog sites children frequent to see what information they are posting and use search engines or other sources to find out what it all means.
- Take a class at a local community college or vocational/technical school. Perhaps you might even enroll with your child and make it a shared experience.
- Learn how to use your computer in your own home, at your own pace, on your own schedule by using computer training software. For instance, I enjoy products from http://www.599cd.com.
- Check out Online Technology Tutorials from the Kent School District, Washington. http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/KSD/IT/TSC/prof_dev/tutorials.html
Technology is changing every day and so it’s important to keep up and stay aware as much as possible. This isn’t easy although nobody said that effective parenting was easy.
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