I recently left my iPhone on a plane. After the initial panic, I realized that I actually felt quite free. I accepted, no, embraced the fact that no one could reach me until I was in front of my computer or near a land line. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take too long for the freedom to turn to panic when I realized that no one could reach me unless I was in front of my computer or near a land line.
As I write this, I'm shaking my head at the ridiculousness of it all. Our world has become an incredibly fast, supercharged existence with information speeding around us at what seems to be faster than the speed of light. I've often wondered how this sense of urgency will affect our children.
Now, please don't get me wrong. I love progress and change. I'm a big proponent of technology for children, but only when it's delivered and managed in a developmentally appropriate and safe manner.
Really, it's all good.
I just wish I could keep up.
Last Friday night, my 8-year-old friend Tali patiently taught me how to use Instagram. The first part of her lesson was explaining to me why I needed Instagram. (I learned that it was so friends can "like" your pictures.) Watching her reminded me that our children are growing up in a world that looks very different from the one many of us grew up in; if we are going to reach them as parents and teachers, we are going to have to learn to adapt.
Adapting doesn’t mean drastically changing—it means tweaking. It’s about keeping an open mind to other ideas and reaching the children where they are. In the preschool classroom, adapting technology might mean using YouTube to research an interest the children have. In my book Monday Memo: Creating Change in Early Childhood Education, One Message at a Time, the children pretended to tweet each other, so the teacher decided to replace the mail center with a tweet board. This way the children were able to practice their literary skills in a context that was meaningful to them. Plus, they were learning math skills since they were only allowed 40 characters on each tweet! Win-win!
What are your thoughts and experiences with technology and children? Have you ever had to tweak your approach in order keep up with the children in your classroom? How do you feel about the role technology now plays in our everyday lives? Let’s discuss! Please comment below.