Sunday, April 29, 2012

Childrens learning games and apps

    In this world of quickly advancing technology it is not surprising to see young children navigating cell phones, iPods and iPads, or having their own child-friendly versions of hand held devices. Children are often among the quickest to learn and are often most fluent at using the devices. However, it can be very concerning when children pick up items like books or magazines and do not really know how to use them properly. This video is a perfect representation of this concern:

    Rafe Needleman from CNET continued this type of discussion as it concerns apps that are geared toward children, even teaching apps. He explained that although there are many apps out there available to children's learning, they may in fact be teaching them the wrong way. He explains that children are engaging in these learning apps, and although they may acquire a few facts along the way these games are not so much about learning as they are about becoming addicted to the game.
    Children are growing up in a world where computers, iPads, iPods, and smart-boards are all part of their learning experiences in school, doing many of their projects on these devices, even homework assignments are online with websites like StudyIsland, and Learning Upgrades. These sites although educational can provide games as a way of learning. This can be problematic because as Needleman explained "the real world is not a game". The biggest concern is that children learn to treat their education like they treat their video games, searching for the fastest, easiest ways to get things done, looking for shortcuts and simply memorizing things without really learning them. Needleman seems to think that these types of apps and games are not applicable to the "real-world". He suggests sites like DIY because it involves both physical world and digital world interaction for learning to take place.
    This concern over the digital world of education is very real, it is something that many parents think about, but that is not to say that this concern is needed. Although it may seem to us that children having so much involvement in the digital world is bad, that may not be the case. Children have the opportunity to engage and learn these new technologies as they arrive, they will have the skills needed to live in a world that relies so heavily on digital technology to accomplish most tasks. This new generation will be able to handle technology far greater than our generation, they will be the true "digital natives", knowing the ins and outs of how the technology works and how to properly use it all. The apparent dependency is not unlike our dependency on the telephone to communicate quicker and easier than the written letter, This fear of  these children, this new generation, and their deep connection to technology is something we cannot really relate to, something we may fear simply because we do not understand it as well as they do.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting story about learning games for children that makes an implicit connection to our early reading from Palfrey and others, but perhaps you could make a more explicit connection to digital journalism. For example, how does CNET typify new forms of digital journalism?