Skip to main content

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


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Recording your own notes with Google Voice

Note :   April 2016:  Frankly I don't know if this works anymore.  It is 7 years old.

I stopped using this when Google Now became useful on my phone, and I could dictate reminders using it.



I found a way a while ago to use Google Voice to record a personal note, transcribe it, and email it to me. A recent Lifehacker post "Five Things We'd Like to See in Google Voice" lists that need as their #5 request, so I realized what I'd figured out is not common knowledge.

In GV's Contacts, create a Group "Special Transcription"

To avoid listening to my standard voice mail when I call, I recorded a short voice mail greeting for this group simply saying "Record note now"

I added a contact with my own cell phone number as the only number, and made it the sole member of this group.

In GV's phone settings, I edited the settings for my cell phone. In the section "Direct access to voicemail when calling your Google number from this phone?" I se…

Planning for a post Evernote era - Part 1

The Evernote world is aflutter this week after Tech Crunch said that following the departure of several key high level people, Evernote might be in a "death spiral".

While I hope that does not happen, even if they do survive, we should all plan for their demise.  No app and no company is forever.  Indeed, for every piece of software we use, we should ask ourselves, "Is any of the data managed by this program something I would need if this program no longer was being updated?"  And in the case of software like Evernote, if its back end servers were turned off forever.

If the data is required, we need to figure out how to get the data out of the program, and readable without the program. One should actually ask and answer the question before they begin using a new piece of software and loading our precious data into it.

I'll be writing more about this topic and Evernote. For now, know that even if Evernote shut off its servers tomorrow, your data remains in your…

Google could let any developer make the next Evernote

After trying loads of Task apps over the years, I have settled for now on a combination of Taskary and Google Tasks.  What they have in common is they both use Google Tasks to save the tasks.

If a new task app catches my eye tomorrow, it likely will not receive room on my phone or desktop unless it too uses Google Tasks to store its tasks.  That way I do not need to re-enter my tasks for the new app.

This is possible because Google has an API for Google Tasks.  An API or Application Programming Interface lets an app send tasks to Google, and get tasks from them.

Google has a huge collection of APIs into their services.  I just wish they had one more.

I wish for an API for a note taking application.  They may or may not let it be part of Google Keep.  Even if they did not have an app themselves using the API, it would be nice to have an API any programmer could use to develop their own image of what a note taking app looks like.

The data would count against your Google storage. With th…