If it’s not clear by now, I love games, toys, and the iPad. I have found a wide range of uses for including my iPad in teaching. That being said, a very small portion of any session I have with a student is conducted on the iPad. And in some cases, I don’t use it at all.
I am concerned about the use of the iPad (and other “smart” devices) for very young children, especially those three and under. From the time a baby is born, it is very busy learning all about it’s environment, exploring every object it encounters by looking at it, feeling it, (and my personal favorite) tasting it. These are all things that cannot be done on an iPad. So I get especially frustrated when I see apps developed with this age group in mind and promises to improve hand-eye coordination, attention span, or logical thinking skills. These claims absolutely cannot be backed up!
The use of technology can expand the potential for student learning in so many ways, but the companies that produce apps and and the educators that use them should be methodical about their implementation and honest about their true potential in teaching students.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be exploring this issue more, including research about how children develop from birth to age three. In the meantime, if you really want to improve your little one’s hand-eye coordination, attention span, and logical thinking skills, just put them on a blanket surrounded by lots of different objects such as: a ball, blocks, a jack-in-the-box, a bowl with a couple pieces of finely chopped strawberries, a xylophone with a mallet, and other objects for them to look at, feel, and taste.