I have been thinking lately a lot about a relevant topic of the early childhood care or stimulation and in general in the education of the XXI century kids, the new (and not so news) technologies, and the obsolescence of the old pedagogic and didactic methods …
New technologies, tablets, personal computers, internet and videogames: There is a lot of debate about the use of tablets and personal computers with babies and toddlers. It is curious that they are the big evils or the big angels. And you know what I think? neither one thing or the other. A tool is only as good as the user using it. The hammer does not make the carpentier, the scalpel does not make the surgeon. What I want to say is that a tool is as good to our children as the coherent and correct uses we give to it. Videogames, augmented reality, smartphones, tablets, they are not the future but the present of our children and I find it interesting to approche them from the begining of lige without fear but with knowledgs and supervision. These tools in fact offers different ways of stimulation and autocorrection that are quite interesting. We need just common sense and patience.
In similar way internet becomes either The Tool to obtain Information or the headquarter of criminal and hurtful acts. Both perceptions are somehow true as well as they are true for the library or the park in your community. And again there are plenty of ways of using internet carefully, however for doing that we need prudence, and interest in reading the information given by some organizations as the police services in the different countries (in Spain for example the Guardia Civil) among others organizations as well as to teach our kids int he respect and responsability as the intelligent beings that they are. I care a lot about the posibility of my little one watching inappropiated content at such an age. In fact I care a lot because I am very sensitive and if I watch accidentally a cruel scene even in a film I can have nightmares and be scare for months, I am what I am easy to scare. And I do not want my daughter traumatized as long as I can help it. I know she will eventually face cruelty and unplesentness but not as little not as inmature.
As well, in the era of the information at the tip of your finger, is interesting to analyse this tendency to clain obsolescence of the old ways of education such as memorization of lists of information. Do not get me wrong, I had to learn unfinishable lists of oncogenes links with the diseases that they, allegaled, cause. Oncogenes are genes about which there is supuosly evidence more or less consistent about its participation in a major or minor way in the apparition of certain cancers. There are thousands of them, and all with ridiculous names that mean nothing to the student… I did memorized them, I had to if I wanted to be an MD with an official title. As well I forgot them 30 seconds after vomiting them in the exman. I hate memorize, I do not like it, well, I do not like it because is boring…aburrido. When is not that boring, well, then I could even enjoy memorizing a song or a tale… if it fun I can do it. The same happen with the little ones. And we should not forget that as everything memory is an ability that we have to practice, nothing wrong about having a good memory you will still need an intelillence and to use it. And as any capacity or ability we need to practice the memory to improve it (remember the say “use or lose it”). On the other hand the kid’s capacity to memorize is amazing. Effortless they know the name of the players in the Spanish football (socker) selection as well as the English, Italian and French, but they know at the same time the number of goals, lessions, and even if they act in any advertisment and what are they advertising. But they also know all the gormities and pokemons with their mutations, characteristics and evolutions, as well as all Peppa Pig’s frineds by name. And they know all of this because its fun, they love it, they are interested and they are motivated. So, my friends I do not think memorize is bad by itself, I think it is boring most of the time and some times it takes time from important things like playing and havin fun but it is not bad.
And what about our friend the television. Is TV bad or is the bad use of TV what can be harmful? I have a confesion to make. I dislike TV. I get bored in 30 seconds most of the time, and I hate when my baby gets hypnotized by cartoons on the screen. (The only think I am thnkful about TV is that it introduced me to Science fiction particularly Star Trek and some other low cost films that I do love) But not everybody in my familly have such a negative view of TV and I have happily discovered that it can be an efficient tool for teaching and learning. It is amazing the huge amount of adamant parents critics of the TV. Pitty to discover that I am not at all original with my dislike of TV, I am even mild with it. However lots of these concern parents have no problem to let their kids see the cartoons on the tablet or the PC (What? Are the cartoons any different there? I do not think so), other are more consecuent and do not let the cartoons invade their kids maind so they let them play videogames endless so they can do their things around the house and rest after work. There are the others that critices the TV or like the TV but they chose the “educative programs” to abandom their child there for a couple of hours… As we, funny parents say, “You do not have kid for two hours”. You see I think this is the same problem. Your kid can see TV or use Tablets or play videogames, this is good even very good but you have to be implicated on it, know what cartoons he is watching, (by the way Tripping the rif or Family guy, South Park or even the Simpsons are not really for kids, they are mor for adults, even if the people who make the programation in Tvs do not know that you should, I love some of them as Tripping the rift but I am not, unfortunately a kid anymore).
So if you get involved with your kids games and cartoon time you can use it to continue helping him to learn and having fun with her. Sometimes I get surprised of how I can use the “Little Einsteins” to answer a questions. As during the Chrsitmas concert that we were watching this year, by the way on TV, and my baby asked me how was the funny guy with the stick so I said “He is the director of the orchestra, you know, he does what Leo does” And inmediately she knew what he was, which was after all the doubt that she had. I have another confession to make, playing tablet games with her is fun the 20 first times, after that, oh well, you keep repeating to yourself, wow, isn this fun?”. Helping her to use the stick from the videogame or the mous can be hilarious sometimes but you need patience and it is tiresome… But, you know is absolutely worth it! Anyway they learn by themselves most of the time you just have to ask the right question to make them want to learn.
I really think this issues have a common implication, and I think it is important: the tool is never the goal itself neither the knowledge, is the way to obtain the knowledge what count, so the teaching-learning process should adapt the tools to their goals nor the other way around. But these ask a big deal of you, first be part of the process, even if you do not have the technical abilities, they do, and the other thing is be patience they learn very quick but there is tons of thing to learn and it could take time. Understanding gravity is not difficult to them explain gravity to you, well that can be a challenge for the littles.