Flutterby™! : Swipe, but not assemble

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Swipe, but not assemble

2014-04-16 18:12:50.878524+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Children can swipe a screen but can't use toy building blocks, teachers warn:

"I've spoken to a number of nursery teachers who have concerns over the increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks – or pupils who can't socialise with other pupils, but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone."

(via /., from the Manchester, UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference>). I'm sure some of this is just pearl clutching, but the Waldorf culture in which I grew up made extra effort to keep kids from being exposed to technology, and ... I have many issues with Waldorf education, but I'm not sure that I disagree with the general sentiment.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Sociology Current Events California Culture Education Conferences ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2014-04-16 18:47:22.046653+00 by: Shawn

I suspect this is larger than just technology/tablets/phones. I few years ago a father told me about his concern over his daughter telling him she didn't know what to do with just a toy truck when he told her to go outside and play with it. The fact that it wasn't part of a pre-defined playset left her completely clueless.

#Comment Re: made: 2014-04-16 19:26:30.489881+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

The line whose origins are lost to history but which I've heard multiple times from multiple sources, in the context of Waldorf, is

The only thing an intelligent child can do with a complete toy is take it apart. An incomplete toy lets children use their imaginations.

(one source) The other thing I wonder about is that in outsourcing our storytelling to the mass media, we've outsourced myth creation. This may or may not be a useful tool; I don't for a moment want to play "it was better in the old days" because largely it wasn't, but if the myths are homogeneous, then how do they evolve and change?

#Comment Re: made: 2014-04-16 20:05:19.896297+00 by: Larry Burton

My granddaughter blew me away by grabbing my smartphone, unlocking it and finding the photo gallery on it before she could talk. After talking to other parents and grandparents of small children I'm finding this ability to be fairly universal. It leads me to believe that the intuitive interface has been created and implemented on smartphones and tablets. Because of that I don't have a problem with my granddaughter playing with my cellphone or tablet as long as she continues to show greater interest in puzzles, play dough, crayons and building blocks.