Encouraging Young Content Creators

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Monique Bouchard at the RainStorm boothRainStorm attended and had a booth at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce Business Expo yesterday where we had a nice opportunity to talk to many people.  We were able to discuss the excellent work that we do, but not all of the conversations were about business!  Our Client Relationship Manager, Monique Bouchard, was excited by one conversation in particular: it was about using WordPress to help kids fall in love with tech and writing – two of her own passions.

So we’re presenting today…

 

Monique’s Top Five Reasons to Encourage Kids and Teens to Write Online

 

Student typing on a keyboard#1 – It teaches typing and is a great reason to practice

In order to blog, you have to learn to type. Typing is a critical skill. Like anything, of course, the more you type, the better you get at typing.

To get started on the right track, you can utilize one of many online typing tutors and apps. Typing Club (www.typingclub.com) has a free, 100-session online class that starts at the very beginning and is great for new learners. Keybr.com (www.keybr.com/#!game)  offers challenges that you can use to practice touch typing skills.

#2 – It inspires creativity

Creative writing helps to expand the imagination and reinforce critical thinking skills at the same time. If you need a little boost getting started, consider Scholastic’s Story Starter website (www.scholastic.com/teachers/story-starters). It’s fun interface lets your writer choose from a few general areas and then its interactive “spin the wheel” will result in a unique story prompt.

For the youngest writers, it could be “Write about why you would like to see a silly kangaroo who is smarter than a computer” whereas for older writers a suggestion might be, “Write a newspaper article about a suspicious world leader who befriends a race of mutant rabbits.”

It’s a good resource for anyone who just wants to practice writing for fun, regardless of age!

Student at a computer screen working on a photo of a leaf#3 – It teaches about communicating using digital tools

Learning how to communicate and share information using the internet as a platform is important. The web is where people will soon look first for information, and an early understanding of digital communication is more than helpful – it’s a necessity. The ability to share work and have an audience for their writing helps reinforce to young content creators that work should be done well and that it’s important to do their best!

It also helps young people build an online portfolio and puts down a positive digital footprint in an ever-increasing online world. All students should be able to have a “positive Google” experience so when someone searches their name, they can find wonderful things right from the start.

#4 – It teaches the value of intellectual property

Creating one’s own work and taking photos or making art to accompany their words helps learners understand the amount of work, energy, and thought that goes into creating original content.

Understanding the amount of effort that goes into everything online helps young content creators understand sophisticated concepts like copyright, the importance of credit and attribution, the effects of plagiarism, and to value intellectual property.

You and your writer can take some of the mystery out of copyright by visiting the Library of Congress’ interactive copyright activity site. (www.loc.gov/teachers/copyrightmystery)

You may also want to take the Copyright Challenge quiz with your young writer – you may find yourself learning together! (www.copyrightkids.org/quizframes.htm)

#5 – It opens the door to learning other tech

Start with words, and soon you need pictures, or maybe a bunch of pictures, or maybe a video and some music! The internet is a garden of content-creating inspiration and there are many delights well within reach of any student with access to a cell phone with a camera.

Before long, stories become rich, interactive media experiences helping pave the way for a lifetime of creative expression. Some students will want to have a high amount of control over the display of their work and will eventually learn to code, opening still more doors. It’s a gateway to lifelong learning in a place where there’s always a lot to learn.

Bonus #6 – It’s fun and rewarding!

Who doesn’t love seeing their work published? It fills us with pride to leave a mark on the world that we’ve created ourselves.

We suggest using WordPress, RainStorm’s favorite CMS, currently powering nearly 25% of the websites on the internet. We love how simple and elegant it is, and how many robust features are available even for free blogging accounts. If you feel you need some additional help, Kids, Code, and Computer Science Magazine has a great get-started article for teachers and parents at  www.kidscodecs.com/how-to-teach-wordpress-basics-to-students.

Visit WordPress.com to sign up for a free account and utilize the resources available to help people (of all ages) start creating wonderful content to share with the world!

(And if you do start up a blog after reading this, let Monique know! She’d love to follow it!)

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