Tips for making children learn to use computers at home or school.
We live in a highly computerized world, and although those of us who were born in the nineties or earlier have lived through a period in which such technologies were not yet widespread, today’s children come into the world practically with them under their arms.
These are digital natives, who from their earliest childhood have access to a large number of possibilities derived from the use of new technologies (something that on the one hand has positive effects but at the same time also has not so favorable and even dangerous repercussions) .
But the truth is that although the use of computer science is highly extended, even those born today need someone to teach them to use it responsibly: us. That is why throughout this article we are going to talk about computer science for children, and various tricks or tips from which to help them learn to use a computer.
Some tips for teaching computer science to children
Below we will see some tips to help you bring children closer to computing, so that they can learn to use a PC. Of course, it must be taken into account that depending on the age, the level of development or even the interests of the child, the way and pace of learning can vary enormously.
1. Start with the basics: introduce the computer and the different components
Perhaps this advice may seem obvious and even stupid, but many people assume that any child already knows and understands what a computer is. And as with adults, there is great variability in terms of prior knowledge.
Before going on to assess how to use it, it is necessary for children to understand what a computer, a mouse, or a keyboard is. Also what is its usefulness and what it allows us to do, and basic measures of handling and care of the material (for example, do not throw water on it).
2. Uses appropriate language for their age and level of understanding
We must not fail to bear in mind that we are talking about children, so their ability to understand details and technical elements will generally be lower than that of an adult with computer skills. It is necessary to adjust the type of language : it may be necessary to use analogies and comparisons with elements that children know from day to day and gradually integrate the new knowledge.
3. Train them in the use of mouse and keyboard
Something very basic that children must begin to learn in order to be able to use a computer successfully is to use the main instruments that we use to control it: mouse and keyboard.
It must be taken into account that depending on the age at which they are taught to handle them , motor control can be more or less precise. In this sense, we can show you how moving the mouse allows us to move the cursor around the screen, and then teach how to click with it. It is possible that this could become, at least at first, a little game for the child.
With regard to the keyboard, knowing how to use it first requires understanding the alphabet and showing how each key generates a different letter, symbol or number. It is useful to start with the letters and / or numbers that the child knows, to gradually expand the use of the rest of the keyboard.
Other key keys to show you are Space, Enter, and Escape. It must be borne in mind that learning to use the keyboard is a process that does not take place in a day: we must not saturate the child if we see that it is overwhelmed, since although an adult accustomed to using it may seem logical to someone Having never used it can be quite a challenge.
4. Start using a program
Another of the first steps that someone new to computing must master is the concept of a program or application, as well as learning how to open and close it. In this sense, we will first have to define the concept and teach the child to look for it on the computer.
Later we have to make him understand that these programs can be opened and closed, and also that what they do can be saved. Little by little we are going to show them these operations and help them to do them themselves.
5. Encourage drawing with Paint
Many children love to draw. In this sense, programs like Paint can be very useful to promote and gradually increase the child’s ability to apply previous knowledge, at the same time that it allows increasing the skill with which the mouse and keyboard are used. We can also download an image that the child can follow.
6. Install and use educational games
Learning to use a computer does not have to be tiresome and boring. It can be useful to install different types of games available on the Internet or purchased, often with themes and characters from series known to them or generated with the purpose of promoting learning to use the computer.
It must be taken into account that there are also educational games that allow the child not only to have fun and learn to use the PC but also to increase their level of knowledge or skill in areas such as detection and monitoring of specific stimuli, concentration, precision in motor control or the use of language or mathematics.
7. Use the word processor
One way in which children can learn to use the keyboard and at the same time to handle one of the most common uses that we give to a computer is to teach them to open and use a word processor, such as Microsoft Word or even the Notepad of notes.
In this sense, we can propose that you write us your name, a favorite object, color or animal or that you tell us how your day has gone and that you try to write it with our help. If he is a little older, we can suggest that he write a letter or congratulations.
8. Explore with them
Perhaps one of the most important tips is the fact that children’s computer learning will be of higher quality the more it is shared with the reference figure.
Helping them explore the field of computer science will not only allow us to show them how to use a computer itself: we are showing them something new and unknown, in such a way that it can become a small adventure while generating an interaction that allows strengthening the interpersonal bond with them. It also allows the child to see how the reference figure interacts with computing.
9. Set limits
Computing is a very useful tool, but as we all know it also has its risks and drawbacks. It is necessary to establish limits regarding what can and cannot be done with the computer, as well as how long they can be with it. Beyond these limits, it may be necessary to install some type of parental control to prevent them from accessing inappropriate content for their age, or from coming into contact with strangers.
10. Use the Internet
Sooner or later minors are going to have to learn to use the Internet. In this sense, it is necessary to make them understand not only what it is, but also its potential uses and risks, and it is advisable to have some type of filter or parental control installed that prevents access to undesirable websites. To learn how to use it, it may be useful to explain what a browser or search engine is, and use some of your hobbies to be able to search for them on the Internet.
11. Explain the risks
Another aspect to take into account is the need to explain to children not only the advantages of using new technologies, but also their risks: if they do not know that their use has certain dangers, it will be difficult for them to use strategies for themselves. prevent them. It is not about frightening them but it is about making them see that one must be careful with the use of new technologies.
12. Make the experience fun
Finally, a fundamental advice for a child to relate in a positive way with computers is the fact that they consider learning its use as something desirable, fun and that implies a positive contact with their references.
This will encourage the young person to learn, while on the contrary if we are critical of their skills or try to force them to learn to do things at a specific pace and in a specific way, it will be quite likely that they will end up rejecting not only the use of the computer but also our indications (and warnings) in this regard.
- UNESCO (2006). International Standard Classification of Education. ISBN 92-9189-037-5.