Monday, November 28, 2011

45rpm Records, Audiotape Cassettes, & Tablets: How Things Change

Source: Wikipedia
Many of us grew up with some sort of device featuring book recordings, whether on vinyl 45rpm records or audiotape cassettes, that had little chimes to remind you to turn the page as you followed the story. As these became popular, toy manufacturers such as Fisher Price made child-friendly players for kids. Electronics giants such as Sony and others also jumped into the market, creating their own products such as My First Sony. In other words, kids using technology for learning and fun really hasn’t changed much, but the way they can interact with technology has. Touch screen and tablet computing, particularly the iPad, has been a game changer. The vast number of education “apps” available to educators and parents for children in the preschool years cannot be overlooked in terms of the possibilities for learning. 

Source: Electronic Blog
So do kids learn differently as a result of new technology? You bet they do. At the recent New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE) conference, Steve Dembo, who is Discovery Education’s Director of Social Media Strategy and Online Community, showed the following video clip. A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work. What is telling is how our youngest kids are growing up with devices and doing things using touch screen technology that we could not fathom a decade ago. Is this too much too soon, or the next occupier to keep kids content? We know the warnings about too much television, videos and computer games. Nevertheless, kids are using touch screen devices younger and younger.

Source: Fisher Price
To make his point, Steve Dembo also showed the Fisher Price "Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case." This protective case was designed so toddlers could use their parent's iPhone or iPod touch, a far cry from My First Sony. To be sure, there are plenty of skill-and-drill types of applications. But in the growing world of “apps,” the ability to find interactive tools for education that benefit young learners, where they are, is mounting. If we are watching two-year-olds using these applications now, perhaps we should be considering what kindergarten will look like three years from now.


  1. To me, the biggest shift has been the evolution of the 'time killing activities' that kids engage in. From strictly imaginary to print. Then radio came along and added audio. I think when video came along, it was almost a low point, since most of the work has been taken away from the child, they just sit and stare. But now with these interactive devices, the kids are involved again. They're active and engaged. And when they're engaged, they're likely to be learning too. It's a whole new world... again :)

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