I admit it. I gave my seven year old an iPod Touch for Christmas. Although this has resulted in a precipitous increase in dreaded “screen time,” there have been other impacts as well. Last night for example, she showed me an app she was playing with, which seemed to involve some complicated rubric for efficiently operating a small farm. It was bright and engaging, with cute little cows, and tiny helpful farmhands. I briefly attempted to take over the management, and, much to her horror, productivity dropped immediately – the Dustbowl had begun. I simply couldn’t acquire the rules and cause/effect relationships as quickly as she could. Her ability to learn, mediated only by the software, is unbelievable.
I was thinking about my daughter’s experience recently, when Grafton invited representatives of Jason Learning, a nonprofit organization that connects students to real science and exploration, and UrbanTech, a nonprofit educational group, to a full-day symposium.