Is the iPad good or bad for children?

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  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.”


ICT 3100

Hi ,

My name is Karen Smith and this is my first ever blog which I have set up for the purpose of sharing information and experiences with other preservice teachers during this semester and hopefully beyond.  I live in Brisbane with my husband and two children aged 12 and 15 and work in a C&K kindergarten part-time. I hold no fears of technology, perhaps as I have the security of older children who are able to assist (ok bail me out) and although I have a keen interest in ICT I have not had the time to expand deeply on skills.

An  experience I can share was at a previous kindergarten where we invested in Smart board.  Betweent four teachers and assistants we struggled to implement many programs as we lacked computer knowledge and time and found little support when we came across technical problems. Eventually our white board was used for nothing other than a weekly photo slide show.  Having seen other kindergartens where the use of ICT is used in very impressive ways I can see the value of becoming ICT literate in the classroom and am very motivated to improve upon my skills to benefit children’s learning.

I would love to hear ideas or tips for using laptops with 3/4 year olds as currently I am finding this fustrating.  Most children of this age lack mouse skills therefore continuous assistance is necessary.  With 21 other children and one other teacher this is not ideal.  The teacher and I often discuss whether this is actually adding value to our program as it seems to us this takes away the all important interactions through play which is the fundamental reason children come to kindy.

Looking forward to getting to know others in this course and hope we all have a smooth journey!