Monday, May 12, 2014

Teach Internet Skills Using Genealogy

School Summer Vacations will soon start in the Northern Hemisphere. If yourcomputer_training2 children or grandchildren are like ours, they soon become bored with only unstructured hours day after day. They want to do something fun, something they enjoy and if possible, something their parents haven't told them that they have to do.

In our family, summer means spending some time at grandma's house because they love her to pieces and because grandpa teaches them how to do cool stuff. This summer, they want to learn how computers really work and how to build sites while protecting themselves online….. In other words, grandpa stuff. Of course, grandma will continue to give them lessons in painting with oils, baking and the myriad of craft skills in her repertoire.

The example tools and sites I give them in the teaching process are heavily flavored with genealogy. There is nothing wrong with slyly teaching them genealogy skills, although the slyness is strictly in my mind. To the kids, my intent is transparent.

As much as they enjoy hearing stories about our ancestors, finding free time to engage in genealogy research is low on their priority list at this point in their lives. If they were finding some of the stories so they could impress their cousins and me, they would be a little more ‘tuned’ into family history.

Hopefully, the not so subtle influence of the genealogical elements of their computer training will engage their interest from now on.

Their training will include adding sources, photos and stories to their ancestral records on Family Tree. They’ll accomplish something they can show others while they are learning and their work will benefit all of the family.

We’ll cover search tricks, form and format standards and of course Internet safety and how to create, use and remember basically unhackable passwords. We’ll engage the power of the tools in the cloud in pairs then in research groups. Most of them have several hours a day learning at their own speed with a Chromebook on their laps already. By the end of the summer, they’ll have their Chromebooks sitting up and begging like a dog, anxious to perform miracles by the judicious use of some specialized but practical knowledge.

When it is all said and done, they’ll enter a new school year with skills that will benefit and protect them in their online lives and of course, their new skills will be fertile ground to for the growth of the genealogy bug that was liberally seeded in their minds all summer long.