Friday, 9 November 2012

Teaching 5 years olds about Twitter

I tripped over this excellent TEDx presentation this morning... 2 enterprising infant school teachers embracing new technology to equip their charges not just with an understanding of how to use a particular platform, but rather more importantly about how to use the internet responsibly, whilst building their basic literacy and creative skills.  I'm sure there are many parents that would do well to watch and follow their example rather than remaining either ignorant of what their kids are watching / accessing /participating in on the web or are just fearful, often through their own ignorance, of what's going on and feeling swamped and helpless about what to do about it.

The video also talks of some of the parents' and the schools reactions to the initiative and the challenges these two smart teachers have faced.  Well worth the 19 minutes time investment, whether you have kids or not.

We can't change the digitally connected world, we can only embrace and adapt to what is happening, and more importantly society has a responsibility to equip the younger generations with skills to navigate it, which we should be pushing proactively.  Hats off to these two inspiring teachers at Meltham Primary School, great work!

Kids are growing up in a multi-device, multi-platform connected world. Fact. Tablets are growing in penetration fast... it's no longer a world with one device that can only be used in a supervised location. The recent OFCOM report on multi-screen / tv alternative choices refers to many parents being surprised that their kids could access the web on their iPod Touch devices.

iPad's are intuitive devices and incredibly valuable as an on the go entertainment/keep quiet solution - I was in a pub last Sunday sitting next to a table of 3 families, with 5 junior school-ish aged kids all sitting there on a device each (plus one with a book). My parents would never have allowed it, kids do need to learn how to behave in social situations too, but I can see and understand the trade off.

What surprised me more than that scenario though was a conversation earlier in the day with friends who were staying for the weekend with their train-obsessed 4 year old, who whilst we were chatting was happily watching one train video after another on YouTube on the iPad WHICH HAS NO EASY PARENTAL CONTROLS and you can't uninstall the app - sure there's some convoluted workarounds but....  Come on Apple - I was appalled.  The parents had tried hiding the app in folders, but to no avail.. and so they were stumped.. a child happily pressing "related video" train pictures to watch video after video, but no means to ensure that he didn't randomly stumble over something inappropriate.

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