Homework on the world wide web

Here’s a 5 Step Plan for getting the most out of the web for homework

  1. Understand the assignment. What’s the purpose of the task: to showcase your creative skills, or deliver some knowledge, or simply entertain…? How long is the presentation? Can you choose the format? Is this a solo task or a group exercise? Set a 5-minute timer and talk it over.
  2. Make a plan. Before racing off to begin, have a think about how much is involved in the whole project. Plot a timeline (and add some padding). Sketch a storyline, or make a bubble map using MindMeister. Set a time limit. For older kids, try using Trello, and Pomodoro to get the work done.
  3. Gather your data. Simple search is a great place to start, but don’t forget deeper resources like data.govt.nz. Wherever you look, cross-reference, check and assess – there’s a lot of wonderful stuff out there, and some fantasy, too. Help your kids learn “critical thinking” – or “don’t believe everything you read.” Oh, and one other thing: credit your sources.
  4. Stitch it together: Your kids could use software on mum or dad’s computer to make their magic, but consider drag-and-drop online tools like Prezi and Google Docs – they’re two of many powerful online presentation tools that make it very easy to share your finished product.
  5. Share it. Make the presentation available anywhere and to whichever group you specify, through Google Drive, Box, any other sharing space – or email it to the teacher. Then, get ready to present in person – search YouTube for some great videos about presentation technique!

Remember, the tools might be new, but digital homework isn’t so different from regular old homework – there’s just the potential for procrastination to be supercharged by distraction. Try this 5-Step Plan to getting homework done, and share your experiences in the comments.

You might also be interested in having a conversation with your kids about copyright, see more here.

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