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Education and technology before kindergarten

I am a life long learner. I will study till I grow old. With that said, I have two children under 4 who use iPad and learn computer motions quick.  Should I let them run with it or limit their abilities?.  As a computer programmer and database developer, I see a world where learning computer from birth is a possibility... i have read studies and conducted limited research on technology and kids as a learning tool ,,, where do you stand?,, what have you contributed to this area?  Please endulge my curiosity as I try to give the next generations a tool to change the world for the better..

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Audrey Wrobel

Posted on 12/21/17 1:45:35 AM Permalink

​Our kids seem to have communication problems like we never knew before the Intenet was born. But, learning begins as hearing does; in the womb. (At least, that is what I read more than 20 years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time.)

The iPad has a learning curve for adults in privacy settings for minors, coupled with eye issues for users. (I have been making my six-year-old stare out the window for a half an hour for every hour she spends on it, to help relieve eye strain that can lead to headaches, even.) ‘Surfing’ in a dark room is bad for everyone, and kids need to understand that as a danger to their ocular health. Every time the iPad updates, too, you have to reset all the restrictions you had set.

Kids also need to be aware of TOS [Terms of Service] , as well as other regulations involving their use of technology. General rules should govern their use, such as “don’t use your real name in screen names, never say what school you attend, nor should you tell anyone where you live.”

The Golden Rule and the thought that we should only speak when it adds something positive to the conversation aren’t things we are born knowing, after all. Pepper in ethics heavily when discussing the Internet, for you never know what parents might know to be telling their children about them. Furthermore, it encourages critical thinking, for example, to ask them to ask themselves how someone might feel on the other end of, perhaps, an email or instant message. They should hear that, just because you meant something to sound a certain way, doesn’t mean it will be perceived that way, as it is a limitation of the written form of communication.

Our words may have incredible power, but connotation is not denotation, so the propensity to be misunderstood seems to be infinitely greater than ever being completely understood.

We all come to the Intenet with our own biases, mores, experiences, nationalities, and so on. They should learn to live with adversity, in order to celebrate our diversity, and it will hopefully prepare them to together face what challenges lie ahead of us, no?

Meanwhile, may they find nature’s problems as inspiration for their creativity. But, approach programs as limited play that is, after all, educational in some way. Minecraft in creative mode for the self-motivated learner IS a tool to read, build, and learn about real and imaginary things. It is up to us to tell them the differences that are not necessarily apparent otherwise, depending on a child’s age level.

Janet Wentum

Posted on 6/13/16 2:24:56 AM Permalink

I see the computer as the new pencil and paper. You don't limit children when they're drawing, playing with toys etc. I'll say don't limit them so far as it's not harmful to them. I mean if it has violent content, sexual overtures or inappropriate material, then of course you want to shield them from it the same way that you'll shield them from certain movie content, adult conversation or sharp scissors. In terms of programming, I've been able to introduce my 3 year old students to code.org and kodable on iPad. For creative tools on the iPad there are a few. lego junior on the iPad is an all time favorite even for the 2 year olds. They love car maker, crazy gears, telestory and toonstatic. I've videolicious and even the school age students don't seem to use it. Of course, I don't know coding etc but it's easy to learn/teach kodable and code.org without any prior knowledge. The students' work on car maker and crazy gears have been limited to their ability. In terms of robotics, we've experimented with Dash from the wonder workshop. The little ones ( 2 - 5 yrs) like to make it move and make noise, and although the schoolage students (5 - 10) years know how to code, they don't seem to have interest in playing with the robots.

I'm always interested in finding out more, I'm open to ideas from you. This year, I plan to introduce preschool children in Africa to computer science. Due to limited funds, I'll have to explore avenues to teach on a pc, preferably using an app that doesn't require internet connectivity.

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