In my home state, a school district just announced that they will be giving every kindergartener an iPad 2 this coming fall. I think this is a terrible idea. I’m not a Luddite, let’s just get that out of the way.
This initiative is not developmentally appropriate. 5 and 6 year olds learning how to use iPads and basic concepts of numbers and language through apps is an inferior task compared to the true needs of that age group and society at large. Learning in small social groups and emphasizing social-emotional growth is far more important than swipe gestures. Being OUTSIDE, exploring, building, and PLAYING, is truly what is needed.
We are not facing a technology epidemic, but we are facing an obesity and climate crisis. Investing $200,000 in environmental changes such as school gardens to teach food literacy and food systems, would have far greater longitudinal benefit than putting kids in front of screens earlier and more frequently.
What do you think? Should I crawl back into my cabin in the Maine woods and go back to my 1840′s transcendentalist romanticism? Is unending technological advancement truly our destiny? Do kids really need to know how to use virtual environments more than live sanely in our real one? (I realize the later is a false dichotomy. I’m just trying to be provocative here-cut me some slack.)