TV or not TV: is that the question?

 “My daughter likes playing with my iPhone, but this was her very first encounter with an iPad. As you’ll see, she took right to it.”  Todd Lappin  7 April 2010

People concerned with the passive exposure of under two-year olds  to television viewing, like Estelle Irving, keynote speaker at the Early Childhood Council’s conference in Christchurch last week*, may be interested in how not much older children interact with other electronic devices, if given half a chance but no prior instruction.

Below are links to two videos recorded a decade apart, from different countries and socio- economic groups, demonstrating the playful learning virtuosity of young children.

The first features NIIT, an Indian educational-software company, whose headquarters in Delhi borders the Klkaji slum. The two worlds are divided by a simple wall. Ten years ago, Sugata Mitra came up with the idea of putting a computer in a hole in the wall with an Internet connection*. It soon became clear that children, who had never seen, let alone operated, a computer, could work out by themselves how to surf the Net and open up whole new worlds. 

The second shows the first iPad encounter of a 2.5 year old girl* already familiar with the iPhone. Some viewers who posted comments on YouTube were sceptical that it was her very first iPad experience, but she’d learnt the touch-screen tricks on the smaller device.

I’ve had my own experience of how pre-schoolers regard the iPhone as a fascinating plaything to touch, push buttons and get instant feedback. For eighteen months my now 4 year old granddaughter has developed deft tactile skills by handling my  daughter’s -and more recently my- iPhone, taking photos and opening interesting applications with a high visual component.

It’s a sign of the times that the Apple of her eye is somewhat different than the apple of mine. The child’s play game of Touch is a whole new educational  ballgame.

 #Lyall Lukey 9 May 2010 


Parents get TV advice – life-style |   Indian children discover the Internet 2000

A 2.5 Year-Old Has A First Encounter with An iPad  2010

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