Saturday, June 25, 2016

Family Tech: Turn to the web for kids’ summer enrichment - June 24, 2016

Parents and teachers know kids lose scholarly momentum over the summer, and research backs them up.

Certain kinds of summer camps go a long way to keep the brain’s synapses firing. They are expensive and most parents can only afford a week or two, if they can afford it at all. And by now it may be too late to sign up for good camps anyway.

How can we keep young brains firing on all cylinders so students can hit the ground running when back in school in late August?

I recently came across a website listing 1,800 online courses. Class-Central.com does not provide the courses but lists courses produced by universities like Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, and companies such as Google and Facebook.

High school students, maybe even some middle schoolers, can watch these videos to get a feel for subjects they are interested in. Even if they do not finish an entire course, it will get them thinking. And it is a wonderful way to dip their toes into subjects they may want to major in at college.

The courses are free, although there may be a cost for add-on benefits such as course credit, certificates and mentoring.

I’ve tried to learn the Java programming language a few times from books. I am having more success with an online course out of San Jose State University. I watch at least a few minutes a day. Today, I watched for an hour or two as I procrastinate writing this column.

I’m not looking for any kind of college credit or certificate. I just want to be able to write my own Android app some day, and that takes Java.

There are courses in history, science, mathematics, engineering, education, social sciences, personal management and others.

Think your kids won’t sit down for an online video course? Check their YouTube viewing history. Younger kids especially are inhaling Minecraft videos to learn how to better play Minecraft.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com


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