In working with children 5 – 8 years old, I have not heard them talking about creating content online at home. I have not even heard any discussions on creating content. I do know that they create in many ways at home. They use technology such as digital cameras, video cameras and computer/video games. They watch YouTubes and listen to IPods. I researched “how children create content online” in various ways and continually saw articles on online safety for children and parents, which is truly important.
I also found an article which showed research by Temple and Duke Universities which was of interest. When underprivileged students were given computers to use at home, their scores on state testing dropped, producing a wider gap. “Providing technology to children at home does not necessarily enhance learning. Computers in the home are mainly used for entertainment such as gaming, videos, social networking. Many families lack the knowledge on how to use a computer for research, exploring the world or current events. Parents' behavior and attitudes toward technology are a critical factor in predicting a child's experience with various media. Research shows that students who have at least one parent with a graduate degree are significantly more likely to create content, online or off-line, than others. Says sociologist Eszter Hargittai of Northwestern University, "While it may be that digital media are leveling the playing field when it comes to exposure to content, engaging in creative pursuits remains unequally distributed by social background."
This leads me to believe that educators need to guide parents and students in computer use. Digital and media literacy is essential. As a teacher I now feel that I should provide resources that should be shared with parents so that they can steer their children towards these types of sites. There are many interactive games educational and noneducational online which are easy for parents to find. Here are some new sites which I discovered which promote creativity and sharing of creative stories and art:
http://togetherville.com/ This is an online social safe network for children 6 -10 years of age. Parents control with whom the child socializes. It’s similar to facebook, but for children and managed by the parents. Mostly are communicating with relatives and close friends that parents have allowed. Children can not only socialize, they can create art and share it within their network. They can play games, watch child safe videos, listen to music for children within that age range.
http://www.creativegamesforkids.com/ : Children have free access to games that stimulate creative thinking
www.kidswritethesite.com : Children can submit stories, art, poems, reviews. Each week 3 submissions for each type of art are selected from around the world and featured. Anyone can view them. It’s a great way for children to get published. It’s a great way to view artistic development from around the world. It is “child safe”.
A way that I would like to have my students create content in the classroom is by having them draw a creation based on a topic or I could post a piece of art and attach a voicethread (http://voicethread.com/) Students could develop a story about it. I would allow other students to comment or tell their own story. If possible I would like parents to share their thoughts. In this way students could create content, but in a safe environment.
The research article mentioned earlier has reiterated to me how important it is for educators to guide students learning in the use of media and tech tools. Students will let their talents go to waste if not encouraged to create!
After viewing this video of Brian Crosby teaching his disadvantaged 4th-6th graders, I am inspired to work towards his level of use of Web 2.0 tools to connect children to the world, to collaborate, to create content, and to motivate children. Here it is: Passion-Driven Learning in Action http://www.angelamaiers.com/2010/07/blogging.html
Temple professor Renee Hobbs: A computer doesn't make kids smart. (http://www.philly.com/dailynews/opinion/20100719_Temple_professor_Renee_Hobbs__A_computer_doesn_t_make_kids_smart.html )