What Does Using Computers Actually Do for
What Computers and the Information
Superhighway CAN Do
They can help children learn skills
using information resources and technology such as problem-solving,
fact-gathering, analysis, and writing on computers—skills
that employers will seek from future workers (today's young
people). They can also help young people learn computer programming
and other marketable skills.
They can open up new worlds of rich
learning experiences to children through schools, libraries,
and home. For example, children can work on a school project
with other children in countries thousands of miles away-or
gather information from and try out their ideas with renowned
scientists, authors, or business leaders. And "electronic
pen pals"-either relatives or new online friends-from opposite
ends of the planet can e-mail* each other almost instantly.
They can increase access to children who have been shut out.
Children in poor or rural school districts can use online
services to visit museums, cities, and wildlife preserves
they would not otherwise get to see. Children with disabilities
can participate more fully in learning, in art programs, and
They can increase access to children
who have been shut out. Children in poor or rural school
districts can use online services to visit museums, cities,
and wildlife preserves they would not otherwise get to see.
Children with disabilities can participate more fully in learning,
in art programs, and in socializing.
What Computers and the Information Superhighway CAN'T Do
Computer and online time alone can't
make your child an honor student. Children learn best
when they receive individualized attention and encouragement
from teachers and parents. Every kind of technology—from the
blackboard to slide presentations to cable TV in the classroom
to CD-ROMs-is simply a tool whose effectiveness depends
on using it well.
Computers alone won't make your child
a well-rounded, successful adult. Children still need
the balance that comes from outdoor activities, friends and
family, solid academic skills, and healthy relationships with
strong adult role models.
What Computers and the Information Superhighway MIGHT Do
They can be a way for you to spend more
time with your child on educational and recreational activities.
Research shows that family involvement in a child's education
is one of the most important ingredients for success. Spending
time online with your child can be a way to connect with what
he or she is learning in school and to stay involved. Computers
can also help you expose your child to information and experiences
that you value.
Online technologies can also be a way
for you to stay in touch with your child's teachers, school
schedules, and homework assignments. Increasingly, schools
are offering parents access to important school information
via e-mail and online school discussion groups. This
can be especially helpful for parents whose work schedules
make it hard for them to meet with teachers or be at school
during the school day.
So, Why Should You Care About Computers and the Information
First, because information literacy
skills will increasingly be expected of young people. Young
people fluent in information resources will likely have advantages
in the workplace. Second, this new resource may hold special
educational and other opportunities for your child-as the
online world can bring diverse experiences to young people.
And, finally, more and more children are taking the lead to
get online-and need strong parental guidance to use this new
medium as a rich opportunity for learning.