A Child Went Forth...Technology Balance

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There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

                -Walt Whitman, from There was a Child Went Forth

I really love these lines from Walt Whitman.  Gives you something to think about, doesn't it?  

We live in an incredible world.  One that shows stark contrast to the Pioneer days my young children are learning about in their school books.  

How are we doing at providing our students with the tools needed to become something positive in this world?  

I think of what Walt Whitman said quite a bit now that I am a parent and teacher.  We live in a world where technology ability is increasing daily.

Surely, we cannot shield our students and children entirely from the awe-inspiring gadgets that surround them.  Surely, we shouldn't let them submerge into their tech world entirely--certainly that world then becomes an alternate reality.  

How do you keep balance in your home?  

In our home, we administer time limits and we do not allow the devices to grace the dinner table or come out during family time. We also absolutely insist that paper and pencil come out more than the devices.  We care about their handwriting, their creative motor skills.  

The girls get the opportunity to use ipads through their online school.  They are wonderful tools.  But we make sure they are used after their other educational needs have been met, or use them to help accomplish those educational needs.  

And then there are days they get to play Angry Birds, or the fun game apps their uncle creates.  :o)  All work and no play makes....well, you know!  

But can we do more?  

What if we gave our children purpose in what they are doing?  Assignments, even?  

If your kids are itching to get online, challenge your kids to write stories on google docs, or to keep their calendar up-to-date.  Have your kids research early inventions or the country of Africa using online encyclopedias.  Or maybe have your older kids take an on-line course in movie making.

Please share your ideas for purposeful technology time!