“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
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fSoWSLNMX3E Indian children discover the Internet 2000