A collegue, Sandy Warner, pointed out an article in the Adelaide Advertiser this morning titled “Tweet time on TV for Preschoolers”. The article is about an ABC tv show for toddlers called Playschool and how they recently broadcast an episode in which a presenter tweeted, blogged, texted and emailed on his cardboard computer. In the article an early-childhood academic and advisor to Playschool comments “it was now a fact of life that most Australian children were exposed to Facebook, online games and smartphone technology before they reached primary school.
This is certainly the case in our family. I have a three-year-old daughter, Ava, who is a regular user of my IPad. She loves to listen to the eBooks and play the apps. The apps that I have downloaded for her are all age appropriate and are saved in two folders on my IPad. She is quite capable of locating her folder and finding the app that she wishes to play. She loves coloring in on the Ipad, playing memory games and doing jigsaws. Ava is able to count to 20, write her name and identify starting letters on words. I believe that all of this has been as a result of her engaging and enjoying the IPad. Ava still loves to colour in with pencils and crayons, do real jigsaws, read books and play games. In a way she has the best of both worlds!
Ava is not alone. Her cousin is only 20 months and was nearly born with an Ipod in his hand. My brother loves his technology and has passed on this love to his son. Over the weekend we were talking about the way that his son has worked out how to use his Ipod. Just like Ava, he is now able to find the folder that has his favourite apps in it and start the app. He can then exit out of that app and open another app. Zak is already able to identify colours and has a concept of numbers.
I am sure that there are many more stories about kids just like Zak and Ava.
I do worry about what will happen when these kids begin school.
What if they have a teacher who does not engage with these forms of technology?
Will they become bored with their learning?
What will they think if they are given a traditional worksheet on letters – a a a apple?