Archive for the ‘ParenTech’ Category

Beware the Virtual Mall

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Just because your teens aren’t hanging out at the mall, don’t presume they can’t run up your credit card bill.  In fact, it may very well be that they are part of the population of online virtual worlds racking up a whopping — dare I say mind-blowing? — 7 billion dollars in sales of virtual goods in 2010 alone.  Yes, you read that right — in the midst of a huge economic crisis, people have spent 7 billion (with a “B”) dollars on stuff that isn’t even real.

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Books in the Classroom: Text or Note?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a delightfully dreary fall day, watching the grey skies while keeping cozy warm by the fire.  On the other hand, I love getting on the computer and catching up on the latest news or finding the answer to some question one of my kids asked.  Luckily for me, I can choose either option — or, rather, I could if I had that kind of free time.  But what if one had to choose?  Many schools can’t afford both technology and textbooks, so which would teachers rather have?

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Facebook for First Graders

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Facebook has become such an integral part of our culture that it is as familiar to the average person as the horseless carriage (cars) and the magic picture box (television).  Of course, it is the younger generation that is primarily driving acceptance, but it is increasingly popular with seniors as well, as they discover how easy it is to keep in touch with family members living elsewhere.  Even as it is becoming a way of life for teens and adults, however, what about the elementary school crowd?

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The Wheel of Consequences

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Move over Vanna, there’s a new wheel in town.  We’re all familiar with spinners used in board games (and game shows like Wheel of Fortune) but who would have thought they could be useful in parenting as well?  When two of her kids began fighting and arguing excessively, Julie Butler figured out how to put a simple board game spinner to work and, in so doing, put an end to her kids’ battles overnight.  She has since packaged her discovery into a Windows-based software package and is making it available over the internet.

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Halloween Costumes: The Milk Jug Storm Trooper Helmet

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Although my kids are not huge Star Wars fans (they’re too young for it), quite a few of their friends are.  So for them, this Storm Trooper helmet, made from two 1-gallon milk jugs, has got to be one of the coolest ideas ever.  I’m not sure I could make it without a few practice runs, but that’s only because I’m completely inept at such things.  It actually does look pretty easy to make.

The way I see it, this is a fantastic re-use of a discarded item and would make for the basis of a great holloween or  a nifty addition to the dress-up corner.  And if that isn’t enough for you, the same site has instructions on making your own lightsaber from a flashlight and a balloon.  So get out the hot glue gun and send your children off to join the legions of the Galactic Empire’s finest!