Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Technology, the enemy?

I've said it. You've probably said it. Parents all over the world have said it. Technology is turning our kids into brain-dead zombies! With the popularity of movies, video games, texting, social networking, online gaming...our kids are in danger of forgetting what it means to use their brains for anything besides how to keep a virtual pet happy or send a text message with the fewest characters possible.

It's frustrating to watch. But it doesn't have to be this way. Technology can be creativity's ally!

Consider for a moment the brain power that goes into designing a gaming site, or writing and directing a movie, or inventing new technologies that (ironically) put our kids (and us) in danger of losing their brain power. There are some brilliant, creative minds behind the technology we find ourselves fighting against.

So, what can we do about it? The obvious answer is to limit your children's access to movies, video games, apps, etc. But that doesn't have to be all. We can also help them to learn to be creative with technology.

One way to do that is to have your kids shoot and edit their own movies, such as this one that my kids and I made one rainy Sunday afternoon:

This movie was made with a digital camera and the iMovie program. The stop-motion technique took a lot of patience (and creativity), but was more than worth the effort in the end. Stop-motion is also fun to do with Legos. 

But you don't have to get all complicated if you are new at movie-making. A good place to start is to have your kids select a series of photographs on the computer and set them to music. You can do this using a program like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker

Of course, actual video clips are fun to work with as well. Your kids can begin with a series of clips taken during a summer trip and add music and titles, even sound effects. They could also start completely from scratch and make up their own story, then act it out on film. They will get a big kick out of watching themselves in the final product, and who knows, it may get them itching to create another one!

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