I had not reflected upon the fact that technology creates winners and losers until this week as the issue was touched on- there are advantages and disadvantages in every new technology and these are not distrubuted evenly throughout society. As people gain benefits other people are harmed while some remain unaffected. In the context of early childhood I thought of the use of the iPad. This is not a device which many children at the kindergarten I am in have access to, either at home or at kindergarten however I know there are kindergartens overseas where they are provided and are part of the early years program.
The digital divide which disadvatages children whose families are unable to afford computers and internet usage comes in to play as it is said children who miss out will lack skills and opportunites. As the iPad becomes part of childhood for families who can afford one there is a strong debate that while it may foster some development it could also dampen other areas and I began to wonder if the children in lower socioeconomic families were in fact the winners.
Apps for iPads include finger painting however how can a child get the lovely feeling of squishy paint through there fingers by touching a screen. I wondered if children really can learn the same by planting a virtual seed and watching a plant grow quickly on a screen? In the real word this activity would use all of their senses plus learn attributes as paitence -as opposed to only seeing on the iPad. A cooking for kids app involves cooking as well as other house hold chores. This again seems bizarre as the app claims to teach children washing up and cleaning- (with just a finger?)
I have added a resource http://www.cbdconsulting.com/techlearn/ipadresources/ipadmathapps/ which contains reviews on educational apps from an educator who found the best way to critique apps is through visiting with teachers, collaborating with other educational professionals, reading blogs, websites and spending time browsing through those apps.
Summed up in many articles I since read on this subject was all in ‘moderation’. It does seems that while no studies can prove apps make young children smarter, there’s no clear research that shows they hurt children.
I particulary liked this line “Parents are always looking for that edge to make their child the smartest but I think the most important thing you can do as a parent is interact with your child. You don’t need an iPad or a fancy tablet to make your child learn.”