As summer break approaches students dream of freedom and fun in the sun while parents are faced with planning for their kid’s days without a school schedule. The summer months can mean more or less screen time depending on where you live, your lifestyle, and your situation. Typically, parents and teachers get frustrated because students end up enjoying more screen time than sun time during summer break. The reality is that we live in a digital world now and it’s up to us to help students use it for enjoyable learning and not always just for mindless entertainment. Discover digital tips to use over summer break to help your student focus on creating not consuming.
Practice Digital Safety
The number one priority for parents and teachers, especially over summer break, should be digital safety. A great way to make sure your student is safe online is to follow the R.E.ST. formula:
As students take vacations or meet new friends at camps, they may want to connect online using social media. Review privacy settings with students, making sure they aren’t revealing too much information such as full name, address, phone number and location. Also, encourage them to think about what they’re posting online and to share responsibly.
As students text, comment, share and post information online they are vulnerable to cyberbullying and cyberstalking. To counteract this, make sure you have an open conversation with students letting them know to talk to a trusted adult if they experience or witness cyberbullying. You can also encourage them to focus on only be positive in what they post on social media and what it means to practice good digital citizenship.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that today’s children are spending at least seven hours a day looking at screens, leading to attention problems, lack of sleep and obesity. Students can stay active throughout the summer by joining a sports team, going to a summer camp, or planning fun outdoor meetups with friends.
Summer break can be isolating and lonely for students. Open the line of communication with students by encouraging them to tell someone if they are feeling depressed or are experiencing cyberbullying. Local school staff may even consider finding ways to check in with students over the summer, so they have the opportunity to share if needed.
Use Screen Time for Fun Digital Learning
During the summer screen time is inevitable for students, so focus on using it for fun digital learning.
The Genius Hour concept is based on the idea that students be given time to pursue whatever topic they want just for fun! Try using prompts to get their creativity started, such as, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?” Then, students can report back to you or put a fun presentation together to share with the family. Once students start diving into their interests and passions it becomes an exciting and rewarding experience for them.
Reading these days doesn’t have to be a paperback book. With the popularity of e-readers and the prominence of digital devices in classrooms, students may feel more comfortable reading digitally. There are a number of free websites offering virtual libraries that students can access over the summer to keep up their reading skills. Here are a few to check out:
Project Gutenberg – Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. From Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to Sherlock Holmes and A Tale of Two Cities, you’ll find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
Bookopolis – Bookopolis is a large collection of fiction and nonfiction books for ages 7-12. Here, students can read, get ideas for new books, comment on books, and earn badges and points to reflect their love of reading.
Epic! Epic is the leading digital reading platform—built on a collection of 40,000+ popular, high-quality books from 250+ of the world’s best publishers—that safely fuels curiosity and reading confidence for kids 12 and under. Follow progress with daily updates, activity tracking and more.
Exercise Mind & Body
Getting outside as much as possible is ideal, but if it’s a hot day or just not doable digital devices can still help students get moving. Try GoNoodle, a program that engages and inspires millions of kids every month to channel their boundless energy–getting them up, moving and becoming more mindful. Adults and teens even find themselves enjoying it too!
Students can use their digital devices to flex their cognitive muscles with online games that help keep their problem-solving skills sharp. Game-based learning through puzzles, brain teasers and solving problems can help build creativity and critical thinking skills. Click here for a list of Sites & Apps for Educational Games.
Thanks to the many fun and educational digital resources available, summer break doesn’t have to leave a student on the wrong side of the digital divide. Encourage students to take their learning to the next level by exploring their passions and interests – and to have a little fun in the sun too!
EdTech Solutions leverages education technology to improve learning by making it easy and simple for schools and students to manage and access individualized digital content on any device. EdTech’s cutting-edge approach to schoolwide ebook implementation and our innovative online platform and tools give school administrators and teachers the controls they need while providing students and parents with access to all their content on one easy-to-use platform with a single login, in most cases.
When you work with us, we create a personalized bookstore for your school where students can access and purchase their ebooks and textbooks on Shelfit.com. We also help publishers make their content available digitally to students on our robust multi-publisher ebook reader platform. We strongly believe that knowledge and good education should be available to all, and we are committed to developing and providing the online learning tools and modern services that make it possible.