If your children attend a nursery, there's a good chance that they come home talking about what they've done on a smartboard, and you're possibly left wondering what on earth a smartboard is?! Classroom technology has shifted from blackboards to whiteboards, through acetate projectors and onto computer projectors. The smartboard is your children's generation classroom presentation equipment!
A smartboard is an interactive whiteboard. A computer projects a video display onto a touch sensitive screen and children and teachers can interact with the screen using their fingers or special 'pens', which may also have buttons on like a mouse. Smartboards can be used for a variety of purposes including:-
At one level a smartboard can be used just as a large screen for a computer, but it is enhanced with interactive games that allow people to interface in all sorts of fun ways.
In nursery schools, smartboards are often used for projecting children's TV programmes, telling stories (sometimes interactive) and for educational games to introduce colours, numbers, letters, shapes and other basic learning.
All of this is introducing children to information and communication technology from the age of 3 years and upwards. There's no doubt that children are growing up in a world very different from the one we grew up in; by the time they are starting school at the age of 5, most children already have varied exposure to computers, ICT and numerous digital gadgets!
It is estimated that the cohort of students starting university this autumn will leave with debts of £25,000 - whether you want your little ones to go to university or not, there are plenty of other expenses that you can start saving for as soon as they are born!
Bringing up children costs money; yes there are shortcuts that you can take, you don't have to go on the most glamorous foreign holidays or buy the most expensive clothes, but by planning for the future and putting a little money aside each month, you can build up a fund to help towards their future. You may want to save towards their first car, their wedding, university education or their first house.
Child Trust Funds were a good starting point to encourage parents to start saving for their children. Unfortunately these are being axed, but there's nothing to stop you opening a savings account and making a monthly contribution no matter how small. After a few years you will have a fund that anyone should be grateful for, or that you can use to cover some of the more significant costs that might come your way!
New Year is a time for reflection, so let's pause for a moment and think of those less fortunate than ourselves, and look in particular at UNICEF's international campaigns for children. UNICEF is a world organisation acting to promote the interests of children and try to improve the world into which they have been born.
UNICEF operates in developed and developing countries across the world, and have different campaigns in each country. At an international level, they have five areas of focus:-
Let's spare a thought for those growing up in the same world that we grew up in, but in unimaginable circumstances. Let's support the work of UNICEF and other children's charities in the hope that one day, their ambitious but respectable goals might be reached. Find out more on UNICEF's international focus areas.
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