I have a class of very tech savvy kids who have the latest of everything. Kids in my class had iphones when I still had my pink razor phone. They can navigate around the computer pretty well and have just about every new game, gadget and gizmo on the market, but I have noticed an interesting trend with these little modern nuggets of mine.
It started with an old Etch-a-Sketch in my big box of games that I only pull out on Fun Friday. It's been long ignored because most of them bring in their own games or ipods or DS's. One little guy didn't bring anything one week and ventured over the the box and pulled out the Etch-a-Sketch. By the way he looked at it and held it by one wheel I knew he had no idea what to do. "What IS this thing?!" he called across the room. He honestly had never seen or played with one. Wha?? I'd say about half of the kids kind of knew what it was and the rest of them had absolutely no idea. How is this possible?
Then to add to the old-school vibe, I won a Magic 8 Ball at a party. Naturally, I brought it to school (which is what I do with most stuff I can't figure out what else to do with) and just kind of put it on the counter. The other day I saw a kid pick it up and examine it like it was something totally new and different - because it was! They don't know what a Magic 8 Ball is either! I had to come up with a system for when they could shake it and ask a question because they all wanted to get their hands on it!
I ended up putting it right next to the finished work basket and now they can pick it up and ask one silent question when they turn in a paper.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I'm glad that they know and have access to the latest and greatest technology because that certainly is their future. I also think it's fun to introduce them to some things that I loved from the days before swipe meant more than just taking something that didn't belong to you. On the other hand, I worry that we're raising a generation of kids who will not know how to function should they be without their digital devices. I recently heard a story about a girl who was hysterical because she couldn't get into her locked car because the unlock button on her keychain wasn't working. She didn't even think to put the key in the lock! Have you seen this video with an infant (infant!) who can effortlessly work an ipad and then gets frustrated with a real magazine because it doesn't do anything when she tries to swipe and pinch it? Wow.
So what's the plan? Honestly, I have no idea. I do embrace technology in my room wholeheartedly, but I also make sure that I have a variety of hands-on low tech activities for them as well. I created this math center that I was afraid my gifted second graders would find unappealing, so I held off on putting it into the rotation.