January 04, 2005

Computers for Toddlers

Got into a discussion re. getting kids onto computers at an early age. I always figured that I'd get my kid onto the computer from day 1, so she'd be comfortable using them and would grow up with computer skills.

But now I'm not so sure.

Most of the applications I've seen for kids haven't been that compelling. They're basically edutainment, but could the time spent playing the game (and thus inferring new knowledge or skills) be spent learning that new knowledge in the "real" world? Which is better?

Then there's the notion that kids should learn computer skills, like the motor skills required to manipulate a mouse, or the spatial dynamics of the CRT screen. But I'm beginning to rethink that idea. In the next few years, will WIMP interfaces still rule or will we see new advances in UI tech? Maybe I should spend more time teaching my kid proper diction and vocabulary so she'll be ready for voice input--while the other kids in kindergarten will be tethered to their PCs, she'll be commanding hers while wheeling around the schoolyard on her tricycle. Hah!

As with any parental guidance issue, it's hard to know how much is good and how much more is bad. It would really suck to have carpal tunnel before you hit middle school.

Posted by jameshom at January 4, 2005 12:00 PM | TrackBack
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