Here's the latest in my (not-exactly-intentional) experiment on raising kids with technology:
One of the science videos my kids found on YouTube was illustrated with a power-point presentation -- one where you could see the filmmaker navigating from one slide to the next in the sidebar -- and they decided that they had to have that program!
"Sure, why not?" thought I, and I set them up with a copy of Open Office. I made a few slides to show them how it's done (and, naturally, they deleted all of my example slides once they'd made a few slides of their own). Here's another example from their latest slideshow:
It's called atom: forty slides and counting!
It's funny -- the program obviously wasn't designed for kids' doodles, but it works. And I can't stop wondering what it would have been like to have had all this fun computer stuff when I was a kid!
Meanwhile, it's hard to motivate them to read books when they can get information on any subject from YouTube. We limit their video-watching to some degree, but I don't want to discourage them too much because our whole family has learned a ton of Physics and Chemistry from Nico's science-video hobby!
So, for reading, I've resorted to some old-fashioned technology -- a technique that was used on me when I was a kid back in the 70's. I drew them each a calendar, complete with pictures of the stories they're scheduled to read that day. After doing their reading, they get to put a sticker on that day's square. And it's working surprisingly well despite not having an Internet tie-in!
(OK, well, that's not exactly true. After reading the popular kids' book Barbapapa, they went and found the corresponding videos on YouTube...)