When Home Becomes A Technology-Based Center of Education

Making the most of computer software often combines activities that take kids away from the keyboard. The best learning takes place when kids transfer knowledge they gain elsewhere to their work at the computer and vice versa. Consequently, there are an endless number of play activities you can launch at home that can enhance the knowledge that comes from the software.

For instance, those classic productivity tools – magic marks and construction paper offer a great beginning. A good way of starting young children on the computer and reinforcing their awareness of the keyboard is to help them make a map of the keyboard on a piece of brightly colored construction paper. Outline each row of keys on the keyboard in a different color with magic marker. Then make a guessing game out of finding the keys. Let your child point out the locations of the A key and the B key. You fill in the letters that guess correctly. This works best when near the actual computer keyboard where the kids can check their answers, and you can help point out the locations. When you've filled in the key outlines, post the keyboard map near the computer and be sure to write the lowercase letters next to the capitals. Children just learning the alphabet are often confused at finding only capital letters on the PC keyboard.

Another homemade game that helps with keyboarding skills is to have the kids match letter flashcards with picture flashcards (D for duck, G for girl) and then find the letter on the keyboard. Here again, construction paper and magic marks come in handy. You can make the flashcards instead of buying them. And if you have more than one child, you can turn this into a game-kids enjoy competition. Make a chart to post on the kitchen wall or refrigerator. Use adhesive stars or stickers of animals to reward the child when he or she guesses correctly.

You also can refer storytelling software to creative writing exercises. Start with the verbal by having your child speak stories out loud and then work your way over to the keyboard. Children sometimes stall when asked to type out their thoughts so it's best to prompt them through the story by first asking them questions about it. Prompt your children to describe the scene of the activity, what they saw, what they heard, who did what. and why it was funny. Then sit with them at the keyboard as they enter the tale.

Story-writing software generally lacks a spelling checker so stand by with a dictionary to help your child look up the proper spellings of words. Dictionaries and other paper reference books provide excellent off-keyboard learning opportunities. Keep the stories short, as if they're telling the experience in a letter to Grandma-so children do not get bored.

From the story-writing programs, such as Storybook Weaver, kids can graduate to word processors, such as The Learning Company's The Children's Writing and Publishing Center, which features drawings …

DSL Internet Connection

Disconnected again? Tired of missing phone calls because you spend too much time online with a dial up connection that moves slower than that snail crawling on the floor? There are plenty of people who know that feeling, and in a culture that values ​​speed and the ability to get things done quickly, it is no surprise that DSL Internet connections are becoming increasingly popular. DSL Internet connections are much faster and more reliable than basic dial up connections, and are much better than their dial up competitors. In fact, the competition between the two is not even close.

Without you live or work in a very remote and rural area, you should have the option of getting a much faster internet than dial up, especially through DSL Internet connections. If high-speed Internet services are available, your choice will be between DSL or cable modem services. Cable Internet is fairly self-explanatory to a lot of people, but you might be asking yourself, what are DSL Internet connections?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. DSL uses a specialized technology to cram large amounts of data onto copper wires, which is how the direct Internet line can be opened without having to block off your phone. A DSL Internet connection can also sometimes be called an always on connection because it uses existing 2-wire copper telephone line connected to the promise and will not tie up your phone as a dial-up connection does. Since a DSL Internet connection is always on, you never have to dial up into an ISP or block off the phone line. There is not even a need to get a second phone line. The two main categories of DSL for home subscribers are called ADSL and SDSL.

What are the differences between the two? One is simply location. ADSL is generally the most common form of DSL Internet connection sold by Internet providers in not only the United States, but in most of North America in general. ADSL is a short abbreviation for the longer, more technical term of "asymmetric digital subscriber line." ADSL does require a special type of modem, so if you are looking around at possible DSL Internet connections, be sure that you have the right set up on your computer (or that the right modem can be added) before doing any purchasing.

SDSL is short for "symmetric digital subscriber line," and is much more common in Europe than in North America. This works much the same way as ADSL, but is more technological and does allow more data to be sent and received than an ADSL connection. SDSL is a DSL Internet connection that also requires a special modem.

Cable Internet is the main competitor to DSL. There are still a lot of arguments over which is faster, which is the better deal, which works best. There does not appear to be a clear winner between the two. While Cable Internet offers that are up to twice as fast as any DSL Internet …