You may have been hearing about the K-4 1:1 iPad roll out in HSE. You may have also heard something about a petition, and perhaps you’re wondering why parents are getting bent out of shape over iPads. I am one of those parents who doesn’t want an iPad in the hands of my 6 year-old.
All these bright, shiny devices encourage us to look at the device, not the people around us. I fall into this trap far too often, and I don’t even have an iPad. When a set of classroom iPads are used at school, I can settle with it. But when my child is required to own/rent his own iPad and bring it into my home, I get bent out of shape. By having our kids on these devices at home and school, we are training kids to be distracted and to value that device over people, especially if they “have” to be on it for homework. Let’s value people over things.
For those who are concerned about our children keeping up in this technological age, iPads for elementary students are not necessary. There are schools all over the country that promote education without technology, like Montessori schools. In fact, tech moguls have come out of these schools, including the founders of Google, Lary Page and Sergey Brin, and the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. In fact, Lary Page and Sergey Brin credit these schools as the reason they are able to think about the world differently.
What we need to be helping our young people learn is how to think creatively and how to problem solve within their own minds. Can this be done using technology? Sure. But as early childhood educators know, children from preschool through second grade learn best from hands-on activities. Our students can learn through manipulations of objects, brain teasers, logic puzzles, and real-world problem based learning.
You see, I believe we need to first teach our children how to think. Not what to think (that would be brainwashing), but how to think. We do this by giving them freedom to explore their interests and then asking questions. Students can find the answers to their questions through hands-on experience, or by talking to an expert in the field. After we have taught them how to think, students are ready to apply those thinking skills to technology.
Let’s not put the cart before the horse, here. I know the iPad is a shiny, new educational tool, but let’s think more deeply about the implications and the message we are sending. Let’s think first, and then use technology.