The Educational Advantages of Using Computers and the Internet

Computer programs and the Internet create educational opportunities not available to previous generations. Read on to learn how modern technologies can become valuable educational tools.

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As computer and Internet technologies advance, they occupy an increasingly significant role in our lives. As a parent, you may rely upon your computer to track your finances, get your news, or email your friends and colleagues. Perhaps you do not remember how you ever got by without your computer.

These high-tech tools are just as important for your child. While it is true that the Internet provides access to questionable video games or other inappropriate content, it is also a gateway to quality educational resources, learning-enhancing games and homework help.

Quality Educational Resources

Whether sponsored by the Department of Education, www.ed.gov, the Encarta Resource Library, msn.encarta.com or Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com, there is an abundance of information at your child's fingertips that was formerly only accessible through a library.

One caution, however: it is absolutely crucial that you, the parent, evaluate these sites yourself before giving your child the green light. The Internet is as large as it is valuable and some of the resources it houses can provide inaccurate or inappropriate information.

Educational Computer Games

The Internet is a treasure chest of fun interactive programs designed to improve your child's reading skills, complete math problems, build memory, or simply enhance hand-eye coordination. While some of these games must be purchased, others are free. The Just for Kids section of this site provides a number of such games. Other sites, like Funschool.com or Gamequarium.com offer more. As noted above, you should always preview any site your child visits and evaluate it for age and skill-level appropriateness.

Need a Tutor?

Online tutoring or other homework resources can help a child catch up or get ahead in their studies, right from the safety and comfort of home. Some programs, though often more costly, use streaming audio or video, so the experience is virtually one-on-one. Others provide forums where students post questions and educational professionals post answers. The quality and cost of these sites vary dramatically, however, so take advantage of free tours or trials whenever possible. Also bear in mind that cost does not necessarily dictate quality. A better consideration is affiliation: Is the program accredited? Is it affiliated with a school or library? Is it government-run? You'll find that some of the best sites available are actually low- or no-cost resources.

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