This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Tech Skills for Teens, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Tech Skills for Teens, Interview with Meryl van der Merwe
Vicki is so excited to have our fellow podcaster, Meryl van der Merwe of the Homeschooling with Technology podcast, join us today to talk about technology and teens and homeschooling high school. After all Meryl is the owner of a fun online academy where students use technology in multiple ways in each course at Funda Funda Academy.
Meryl and her husband moved from South Africa to the United States (Tennessee) in 2003 for a better American life. When their four kids started school here, they found that American schools were far behind what her kids had learned. Because she did not want to waste their time or bore them by having them repeat things they had already learned she and her husband decided to start homeschooling. She calls herself an *unsuspecting homeschooler*.
Meryl’s kids have all graduated now. Four of the five graduated from homeschooling high school. The youngest decided to go to public school for high school and did well there. Meryl’s family again proves that there’s not ONE right way to educate our kids…even if that means some teens switch to traditional schooling.
Meryl is a programmer by profession (she worked for Shell South Africa).
Her father was an engineer so there was always *techy stuff* around the house when she was growing up. She always enjoyed technology, so even though she majored in English and German in college, she naturally gravitated to technology as a career. When she started homeschooling her kids and then teaching in homeschool co-ops, she found her tech skills to be in high demand!
Meryl’s tech experience is why we asked her to join us on for this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast. We homeschool moms are often digital immigrants (we were not born into the world of digital technology- as opposed to our kids who are digital natives). We often need some guidance on technology. With Meryl’s help, we can make sure to help our teens have good tech skills so they are prepared for life. In this HSHSP episode, Vicki and Meryl discuss important basic technology skills that you or your teens may not be thinking about yet.
Here are basic tech skills for teens:
- Email (they need email for college, work and organizational communication)
- File storage (how to create and store files, then find them!)
- Screen shots (how to create, store and share screen shots)
- Google drive for virtual collaboration. Most college courses these days require group project work using Google drive. This is a good project for homeschool co-op projects.
- Basic trouble shooting (starting with the classic reboot)
- Google search or YouTube search for solutions and information
- Word processing (if they cannot QUERTY, they will not be ready to quickly word process for college-level work)
- Because without QUERTY, they end up using the *Columbus system* (find a key and land on it) for keyboarding, that makes typing SLOW!
- Create a slide show: It is a good idea to learn as many of these as possible. This is because things change all the time. Knowing a multitude of things helps homeschool high schoolers and graduates to be nimble in their adjustment to changes. Some examples are: Powerpoint, Prezi, Google Slides, Keynote.
- Spreadsheets: Organize ALL kinds of information: money, math, tasks. Some examples are: Google Spreadsheets, Excel.
- Creating graphics. Teens will end up using graphics for many projects in college and life. Some examples are: Picmonkey, Canva, Adobe Spark, Google Drawings.
- Create flyers and promotional materials. Using the graphics they have created or other photos.
- Create videos. Loom is an example of software.
- Create videos with voiceover. Some examples are: Windows Moviemaker, iMovie.
- Create cartoons.
- Use Tech tools for organization: Schedulers, Google Calendar
- Therefore, take some online courses, many colleges use at lease some digital (Learning Management System/ LMS) courses. Know how to download and upload assignments, use discussion boards.
Meryl’s Funda Funda Academy has lots of online courses that use lots of kinds of technology in each lesson. The name Funda means *study* in Zulu, repeated words mean *really*.
Therefore, her courses at Funda Funda are really about fun learning and study.
- Computer Application
- How to do Online Research
- Tech Addiction
Also basic courses like
Trying out all these builds confidence and preparation for life and/or college. Including technology as a high school credit also satisfies requirements for graduation for some states. Check out this post on the credits needed for graduation.
Meryl also has Facebook groups:
Check Meryl’s episode on Google Drive and this one on free video tools.
Also, check out this interview with Melanie Wilson about handling screen time with teens.
Here are dozens of apps that can help teach with technology.
In conclusion if your teen is looking for his/her first job? Read about Vicki and Kym’s experiences in helping their teens.
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