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Teaching children about computers
FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 12:06 PM

Common Core State Standards tests are largely computer-based, which means students at all grade levels may need to understand some basic computer skills. However, in some recent cases, teachers are finding that their students don't have enough proficiency with computers to successfully take the exams. In fact, a 2014 poll from Gallup found that more than half of all teachers in states where the Common Core is implemented don't believe their students are prepared to take online tests. This is especially true for teachers in elementary schools. Here's how you can ensure your children are prepared for computer-based tests:

Start early
Most experts recommend parents don't teach children who are under the age of 3 how to use computers, since their visual and motor abilities are still developing. However, children who are ages 3 and up can absolutely benefit from beginning to learn computer basics. The most important skills to start teaching early include how to turn devices on and off, use a mouse and keyboard, and properly and safely use the equipment (meaning students shouldn't be messing with power cords, eating or drinking near the computer, etc.). For your preschooler or elementary-aged child, you may want to use mouses and keyboards specifically made for children to use. 

Play games
One of the best ways to get students used to basic computer skills, such as using a mouse to move the cursor and typing on a keyboard, is through playing computer games. There are tons of educational games online, from Fisher Price, PBS, Sesame Street and more, or you can buy software-based games.

Cover troubleshooting
As children become more comfortable with computers, they should begin to learn troubleshooting skills. What should they do if, for instance, the cursor stops moving or an error message pops up? Troubleshooting goes hand-in-hand with critical thinking and problem solving, both of which are important skills for students to have. But more importantly, in such a technological world, every adult should know how to troubleshoot basic computer issues, so the earlier these skills are learned, the better.

Utilize practice tests
Utilizing online practice tests that are specifically designed for Common Standards prep is the best way to ensure students are prepared for the State Standards tests at school. These practice tests will have similar question-and-answer formats and require the same skill sets students will need for the real tests. Practice exams can be taken throughout the year at home and at school to get students comfortable with computer-based testing.