Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Learning with Technology at an Early Age

Children are naturally curious, creative, in search of independence, persistent which will lead not only to explore how technology works but also how it fits into the world they live in. This is the perfect timing to provide them toys to help them learn about anything before they go to school. Technology has turn normal kids into e-kids. There are more toy companies that integrate technology into their toys to induce kids to read and learn without even knowing. By the age of three, a child can begin to use a computer and discovery-based software with the help of an adult.
Toy designers and engineers are working hard, creating the next generation of electronic learning devices for kids (Minkel W., 2003). Companies such as Leapfrog as the company that pioneered the smart-toy revolution and Fisher Price are integrating technology into their toys. These toys are made to teach children at an early age using technology. Many American children receive physically formatted e-books before they are able to walk, much less to read. Stores are filled with books masquerading as toys long before toddlers are entrusted with the traditional fragile medium of paper (Johnson C., 2006).
These books for children include embedded electronic chips, audiocassettes and discs, CD ROM’s and even video games. The electronic books can read aloud individual words, phrases, and stories, and provide animated cues to word meanings. With companies like LeapFrog leading the development of books “communication toys” for children, and TumbleBooks.com providing “e-books for e-kids”, with its related puzzles, quizzes, and

Educational resources, it is unrealistic to believe that more sophisticated digital publications will not be demanded by children (Johnson C., 2006). This kind of learning teaches kids about multimedia communication with action and motion, and it helps them reinforce a variety of other skills, including critical thinking, literacy, interpersonal communication, public speaking and group decision making.
Research has demonstrated that kids learn better and retain more knowledge when they use well-designed interactive software no matter what its electronic platform (Minkel W., 2003).
The Table I demonstrate some of the electronic books that have been created an how they help develop several skills to our children.
These toys have prove to teach kids at an early age of literature, cultural history, mathematics, science, language and even reading and writing. It integrates characters such as Winnie the Pooh to increase the interest of the child and make it for them an entertainment rather than feel like they are learning and studying.
Because too much can become a problem we should control the use of technology for kids and most important always supervise them. Parents could use the time to create a better and solid relationship with their children. Parents should also let the child interact with other children and develop their skills in other things rather than technology.
The use of technology at this time starts early. As I said before we should take advantage of this to teach our children with technology at an early age.

Table 1

Subjects Taught
Disney Interactive
Winnie the Pooh: Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten Phonic Quest
1 ½ to 6
Preschool/Kindergarten curricula
Knowledge Adventure
JumpStart: Languages, Explorers
Math Blaster: Cross Terrain Challenge
3 to 8
9 to 12
International cultures and languages, history logic, deductive reasoning.
The Learning Company
Reader Rabbit: Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade
3 to 8
Math language, thinking, creativity, life sciences.
MontParnasse Multimedia
SmartKids: Discovering Life, Touring Planets
8 to 12
Scholastic Software
I Spy: Treasure Hunt
6 to 10
Reading, math, thinking
School Zone Interactive
Interactive Work Books: Preschool Thinking Skills, Grade K, Alphabet
3 to 5
Matching, sequences, classifications, comparisons, patterns, problem solving, letters and sounds.

We can’t deny that technology is an integral part of our lives. Computers have become an invasive presence in our lives which leads us to discuss some of the implications. With the rise of electronic literacy supplementing traditional forms, librarians are in an ideal position to show the new generation of readers how content transcends form (His, S., 2007). Teachers are at all levels are being asked to move from traditional forms of instruction to multimedia and active learning. This has been a challenge for some of them because it means to reconstruct practically they way of teaching and start all over again.


Johnson, C.; Harroff, W. (2006). The New Art of Making Books. Library Journal. Vol 131. p 8-12.

Lew, Donald J; Jannone, Patrick V (1998). Exploring Literacy on the Internet. Reading Teacher. Vol 51. p468

His, S (2007). Conceptualizing Learning from the Everyday Activities of Digital Kids. International Journal of Science Education. Vol 29. p29.

Weissman, R. X (1999). Connecting with Digital Kids. American Demographics. Vol 21. p16.

Minkel, W (2003). Smart Toy Story. School Library Journal. Vol 29. p60.

Leap Frog Company

PC Magazine

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