Our Future Technology: It’s Child’s Play

Me: what did you do at school today?
Son: Learned about the world using Google Earth.
Well, I really hadn’t expected that answer.

In the video above, Lisa Guernsey talks about how dealing with an iPad is affecting young children at a TEDxMidAtlantic meeting. Lisa directs the Early Education Initiative of the New America Foundation and she aims to elevate the dialogue about early childhood education.

But now back to my son. If you think about that for a moment it’s quite staggering. My son is 5 years old and in his first year of school. When I was 5 I can’t imagine I even knew what an atlas was and maybe I didn’t know the world existed outside my town, let alone my country.

So after dinner, we took a virtual trip up and around the top of Mount Everest. We also visited Ayers Rock in Australia, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and my personal favorite, we zoomed in to the 50-yard line of Soldier Field, home to the NFL’s Chicago Bears. Ain’t technology awesome…

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Sticky Fingers: Our Children’s Technological Future

I have sticky fingerprints smeared across my flat-screen TV. They’re not mine, I might add. Rather they belong to my five-year-old son. Unlike his other random markings around the house (walls are a particular favorite), these are deliberate and with purpose.

He tries to operate the TV like he would my iPhone. That is, he competently swipes and pushes objects (buttons) on the flat screen as a means of navigating to the content he wants.

When the TV doesn’t respond he gets annoyed and airs his displeasure. For instance, a favorite program of his starts and ends with the characters entering a lift (elevator) – the top floor housing a fun playroom.

One day, as the program was coming to an end and the doors to the lift closed on the departing characters, he began to furiously ‘swipe’ the doors on the screen, yelling “no, no, no!” – desperately trying to open the doors so the program wouldn’t end.

But end it did, and in tears.

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