Sunday, June 27, 2010

Apr8_iPOD

I don’t have a lot of mom friends “in real life”. My best mom friend happens to be my coworker whose son is 5 now. We talk a lot about our children’s interests and how best to nourish them. We talk about what happens when they go to school. I joke sometimes that Sal will be our “test case” since he starts kindergarten this fall. He reads, writes, draws beautiful pictures and very passionate about technology. I remember him as a not-yet-three year old playing independently on Starfall, building various characters and using a mouse as casually as we do. We are not giving Anna as much exposure to computers yet, but watching her play on my iPod I am telling myself – these devices will revolutionize education as we know it, and it would be silly to deny her access to them. iPad and tablet PCs (when they finally materialize) will rule our children’s world. A lot of classic education is built on memorization and beautiful handwriting, but will those skills be relevant in 21st century? Some of the science fiction dreams of our childhood did come through – we can carry a lot of knowledge in our pocket and ask any question through a few clicks. The real challenge of parents and teachers will be to teach kids how to ask those questions, to teach them to question the answers, to integrate information quickly, to process a lot of data. Both me and my friend are excited to take on this challenge through introducing best of what technology has to offer to our kids fairly early (we both also believe in not introducing any electronic edutainment before the age of 2). However, as I browse iTunes site, I am often frustrated to the point of tears with how difficult it is to find anything unless you know what you are looking for. The number of applications is exploding with many people trying to make a quick buck in the new market place. I found some gems that work for us like Teach Kindergarten, ShapeBuilder and iWriteWords, but I often ask my friend for her advice. That’s why I am excited to tell you about her own brand new website called very appropriately iKids. If you have any of iDevices, hop over and see if any of those applications will appeal to your kids or to the kid inside you.

Question: What kind of iApps or computer games are favorites with your kids? Do you allow them to play as much as you want or limit their time?

PS. I am not an iTunes affiliate at the point of writing this post. I don’t like non-financial and non-government websites asking me to provide them my social security number. I think it’s identity theft waiting to happen, and I hope that Apple will reconsider their affiliate registration process shortly.

19 comments:

Twig and Toadstool said...

I've let my daughter play computer games since she's been about 4 yrs old...we started out with Reader Rabbit...really simple preschool games...Dora the explorer, (who she loved)...now we are into Mia, (lots of games with a sweet little mouse)...my daughter is 7.
We've always limited the time though...so before she could play for 1/2 hr or so, now about an hour maybe once or twice a week. As a homeschool mom, I find these games to be a great supplement to what I'm teaching...FUN reinforcement!!!
:) maureen

Ticia said...

I think at this point the ones you named are pretty similar to the ones my kids liked.
And I know you didn't have a lot of luck with Jump Start, but my kids still love it.
They also love typing in Microsoft Word.

Adriana said...

Diego just started a month ago to get to use the computer at all. I do not remember if I ever mentioned to you that I have older step children. We hardly ever see them (about once or twice a year) since they live far away. Anyways, my stepson is a total videogame/computer junkie. He would literally spend every waking hour playing these games to the point that I think that it has damaged him socially. He does not know how to deal with the real world. Seeing this has made me extremely cautious about introducing this sort of technology to Diego. I fully realize that technology can be a useful learning tool and is a necessity for today's children. I am just introducing it very slowly. His best friend is six and he has been playing X-box for two years now and has his own hand-held video game (PSP?). His mother knows not to get them out while Diego is over playing. Ok, I'll stop now. I may have to write a post about this. :)

Joyful Learner said...

I've introduced computers but limited the usage. My optomalogist told me kids need to be looking at far distances and I agree with him. Too much TV, video games, and even reading at a young age can be bad fir their eyes. My husband is nearly blind so I worry about these things. There's a reason why some school of thought (too many to list) believe children should play most of their time before age six.

We also have a friend who's son is addicted to video games at age 3. He won't play when there's a video game around and when there isn't, he's almost forgotten how to entertain himself and begs and begs for games. Other than that, she's not very aware of his movements so he tends to bump into things without realizing. The mom thinks it's because he's a boy. Not sure. Fortunately, he goes to preschool where the teachers can entertain him and keep him from bumping into other children as he does with mine on playdates. Sad because he's a very bright child, otherwise.

Joyful Learner said...

Sorry aboutthe typos. Cannot stand typing on my iPhone.

Debbie said...

I have introduced Selena to the computer. She plays certain games, (off line games). We do not have any other technology in our home like the iphone or ipod. I agree that technology is going to play a big role in our children's education and the way they move on in the world as an adult. However, from my experience with my older children these technical devices need to be monitored and I feel time restricted. As I want Selena to know how to use these devices, I do not want a child to depend totally on them or feel she is so dependent upon them that she does nothing else or has little power to think for herself. I believe a child is still going to need balance in their skills so that they can still think, problem solve, and compute answers in their own heads without these devices. I would not like to see our world grow technical dummies who in a time of technical blackout, they shut down as well.

Great topic!

MaryAnne said...

I've seen some great kid games for apple products, but we don't own anything made by apple so my kids will have to wait to try them =)

Adriana said...

Natalie- I think I came off a little harsh. I should add that I am sure that technology in the hands of responsible parents can be very positive. I am sure that you are very selective about the types of games and the amount of time that Anna is allowed to play those games. It is just a sensitive area with me because of the issues that our family has had with, in my opinion, videogame addiction. I am just not ready to start Diego on much of that just yet.

Aging Mommy said...

My daughter plays a little on our computer but so far we've not really introduced technology to her but you are right, in the 21st Century these skills are going to be essential and an everyday activity. I think it is wonderful to introduce provided it is done to encourage exploration and learning which is what you are doing and I will check out this new site your friend has started. What I will make sure never happens is that my daughter like her nephew spends all day playing on game boys and video games to the extent that it becomes her life - in fact, I hope she never plays any such games.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

You should watch PBS Frontline: Digital Nation, if you haven't already (you can instant view it on Netflix), it deals with the pros and cons of using computer technology in education, and is kind of interesting.

Raising a Happy Child said...

I agree with comments about addictive nature of computer games - that's where limits come in. One thing, however, that I like especially about iApps is that the games tend to be rather short, and a good game can replace hours spent on boring drilling.

Debbie said...

I just popped over, didn't watch the show that Leah was referring to but was reading it's contents. Interesting information. It answered some questions I have suspicously answered for myself, such as the what is happening to the minds of kids, who are encouraged to engage in the technical world, one point at hand was low attention spans. I suppose that goes with reason when they jump from one app or game so quickly and do not spend time observing like through a book or written task (boring drilling or learning to concentrate?)

Autumn said...

I've been doing reading on the topic of kids and technology and we've decided to hold off on introducing the computer to our kids for at least a few years. Boys' attention spans are already so precarious that I feel I need to fill these precious years of rapid brain growth with nature, books, crayons & paints, and tools that will lay a foundation of 'slow' thinking. I know that they will pick up the ability to use computers just as easily at age 10 as they will at age 3. I realize that I'm probably in the tiny minority here in Silicon Valley. :P

I actually very much love the principles behind classical education. It would be such a shame for important skills like good handwriting and the ability to retain large amounts of information in our very able brains to be lost in favor of using technology like iPads.

Here's an interesting article on the topic of how technology is shaping our brains, called, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?":
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/

catb said...

I've been a big fan of this blog - not only since I am the mom friend, but also the community of passionate parents so interested in the growth and development of their kids.

I can definitely relate with the comments on here - the concerns on attention spans, the real value and importance of interactions, and even something as simple as boredom, for a kid. We spend lots of time exploring, drawing, writing, reading, talking, even powering through complex lego models that take lots of time and patience. I would never substitute any of these.

I added tips on the site on what we felt helped us reach a balance for our son, putting caps, making things more interactive, using the electronic element more as a tool, one that can bring more exposure and possibilities even for interactions with us.

I think it's dangerous when these devices are used as substitutes for interaction rather then jumping off points, but also think that technology can offer some rather unique jumping off points as well.

Pathfinder Mom said...

We introduced the computer at 3 years old. We do have strict limits and it's pretty much for educational sites only. Our iPod is 5 years old and doesn't have any app capability so Tornado Boy hasn't been exposed to any apps.

We do have a Leapster that we use, but pretty rarely at home. We tend to bring it along when we travel or sometimes in restaurants where TB's natural volume is a bit problematic. I love that I can see what he's learning through their website's "Learning Path" setup.

I'm not sure about apps. I have a smart phone, but the only apps that I have on it are Google for maps, email and the like. TB doesn't use it.

I definitely like technology as a tool. We've found it very helpful to be able to look up short video clips to reinforce concepts and vocabulary.

I think like everything else in life, it's a matter of balance.

Christy said...

Collin and Reagan use the computer a few times a week (maybe 2 or 3). They like Starfall and PBS Kids; we haven't really tried anything else. They will play for about 20-30 minutes.

I have an old fashioned cell phone so I have no clue about apps. Also, my ipod only plays music. I am pretty clueless when it comes to all of the new technology. I know I should step it up a notch, but I'm too cheap!

Christy said...

I forgot to mention that I find itunes to be extremely frustrating and not at all user friendly.

Waterdreamer said...

I allow my son on my iPhone about once a day. And he also plays Starfall Little Reader and Reading Eggs each once a day for one lesson. I find my son absorbs a lot using technology. I mean when he was four he showed my best friend how to use the camera on her blackberry and he had never used one before. In the past I did not allow him on the computer at all but my parents allowed him. In those once a week visits he learned how to operate the computer better then my mother.
On the iPhone we use labyrinth for hand eye skills, ABA Flashcards, Little Pim game, and some French word building apps

The Mom I Want To Be said...

My son and daughter both love computer games and my iphone. I limit their screen time (in all forms). Our favorites are teach Kindergarten, Sound Shaker, 123 tracer, and dtd num whiz lite (dot to dots).
Thanks for telling us about your friend's site. I love the idea of your site. In fact I think it's such a cool idea that I added it to the favorites page on my blog, http://givinguponacleanhouse.blogspot.com! Your blog is there too :)