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Your child’s first computer lessons: An introduction to technology

Image credit: iStock

This is the second in a five-part series about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

A child’s first steps towards technology should be small, easy ones under the guidance of a patient parent. It can be an intimidating subject to broach due to its complexity, but it can also be a whole lot of fun. The key is to focus on the most basic, practical elements. Here are four ways to explore this component of STEAM education with your child at home.

1. Using a computer keyboard
Before introducing your young one to an actual computer, start with a keyboard first. Teach them how it works and what each button does. You can even challenge them on how fast they can identify and type a string of random letters and numbers as you list them out loud. The next step is to type a whole word, phrase or sentence, including punctuation.

When your child’s cognitive skills are more developed, it’s time to teach them the proper position to place their fingers on a keyboard – their left fingers should go on the A, S, D and F buttons, their right ones should go on H, J, K and L, and both thumbs should rest on the spacebar.

2. Exploring the Internet
Another activity that you can try with your kid is exploring the Internet, or more specifically, the search engine. Cyberspace is chock-full of useful information that is available at your fingertips, but there’s a dark side to it as well that’s not quite as PG-friendly. This is why it’s crucial for you to be with your child and guide them as they surf the World Wide Web for the very first time.

Encourage your rug rat to pose questions and enter them into Google, or try searching for images and downloading them. Not only will this foster a healthy curiosity in them, you’ll get to learn about what your kids are interested in as well.

3. Creating a PowerPoint presentation
Now that your tot is capable of typing words and obtaining information and images online, they can go wild on a PowerPoint presentation. With an abundance of functions that integrate art with technology, it allows your kids to experiment with texts, shapes, animations, and audio and video clips to customise slides.

This skill of manipulating digital content is the basis of many tech projects, such as in coding where different scripts are used to control what appears on a web page or application. Most of all, this activity exercises their ability to gather information about a specific topic, and their creativity in conveying them in a structured, yet stimulating format.

4. Sending emails
If your child has not been exposed to digital or mobile communication, this will probably be a fun activity for them. Setting up an email account grants your kid the creative freedom to concoct a unique email address, and try out different email service providers from Gmail to Yahoo! Mail to Outlook.

The best part, however, is corresponding with each other through emails. Teach them how to send images, videos and attachments, and customise the text (which they should be familiar with by now). On top of learning about this time-honoured tech tool that will probably remain with them for much of their lives, they can pick up letter writing skills as well, from using greetings and signatures, to crafting formal and informal messages.

 

Learn more about STEAM and how to integrate it in your child’s life! Join us at Happy Sparks on 23 and 24 June from 10am to 8pm at Our Tampines Hub. Click here for the programme lineup.

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