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Keeping up with your kids

Don't let your kids outsmart you with their ICT know-how. Chris Johnston explains how parents can catch up

MANY PARENTS who have not grown up with technology find their children are far more savvy about using email, the Internet and computers, but a Department of Education and Employment initiative aims to help them catch up with their offspring.

The first Parents Online Week will give mmums and dads - and grandparents - a chance to see what computers can do for their family and their children's education. They will be invited to use schools' computers and be shown that the Internet is a powerful educational resource.

Another aim of the week is to get parents more involved in school life and their children's education.

Schools wanting to offer sessions during the week, from September 18 to 22, can register online. Those who participate are eligible to share in computer equipment and other prizes worth pound;150,000.

The website has been developed by the DFEE with, Channel 4's Homework High website, MissDorothy. com and the National Family and Parenting Institute.

It features information for parents and teachers, an interactive tutorial for new Web users and details on safe surfing. An updated version of the DFEE's Superhighway Safety Pack, will be released during the week.

A number of schools are using technology for innovative projects during Parents Online week. Pupils at Cranford Community College in Hounslow, west London, speak 43 diferent languages at home, making it difficult for parents who do not speak or read English well to get parents involved in school activities.

To help solve this problem, Cranford will create school calendars in 15 languages spoken by pupils. During the week, teams including a Year 7 and a post-16 student, with a parent who speaks the language will devise a calendar. They will be posted on the school's website, so parents elsewhere in Britain can suggest improvements. CD-Roms with calendar templates produced so other schools can create their own.

Pupils at schools in the Salford and Trafford education action zone will teach their parents how to use the Internet and those who want to learn more can obtain the Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT) accreditation.

The zone's Last Word project will encourage parents to use schools' ICT facilities when they are not occupied by pupils. A grandmother provides training and technical support to visiting adults at one Salford primary.

In Liverpool, 72-year-old agony aunt Eunice Smith will answer email questions from parents from three local primary schools, in addition to those from pupils.

Year 11 students from Davidson CE High School for Girls in West Sussex are targeting grandparents on September 20 to show them how to pursue hobbies or email family online, while Chailey School in East Sussex is holding an "E-Tea" for parents and grandparents.

Parents Online:

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