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Apple is Changing the World… through Learning?

by Martina Wormuth on March 29, 2012

So, I also write on another site about personal finance on a regular basis. I look at websites like MSN Money and Yahoo Finance to check out current events and figure out what people in the finance world are writing about. Well, oddly enough, I was looking around last Friday and found this article about Apple changing kids brains.

I recently got an iPhone. By recently, I mean a couple of months ago. It was a gift from a friend; they both got new phones and figured I may want something new. They were right; I had an old-school phone before this.

Many of my students have iPads, iPods, and/or iPhones. I only know because they carry them instead of Bibles to youth group. They use theirs much more quickly than I do my own. I’m a little slow when learning new technologies; once I get it, I’m fine, I just have a bit of a learning curve.

Then, I read this article. Eight and nine year olds are using these same things as educational tools. I used to be appalled when I saw kids with iPod Touches and iPads; now I’ve become a bit more accustomed to the idea, and I see how they can really be a great tool for any sort of educational context.

One of the things I found most interesting was that kids are developing some pretty cool applications. The iSketch app has been downloaded 50,000 times and it was made by a 14-year old. That’s astounding!

What’s even crazier is that all of this technology is changing kids’ brains! This isn’t necessarily a good thing, according to people who study brain development. Directed play is a low level form of learning as compared to open play (building with blocks, playing house, etc). If a child’s nose is stuffed in an iPad or iPod, they aren’t conversing, which is another important part of the learning process.

So, what do we do? I think the answer, as it is with anything else in life, is balance. Yes, these can be amazing tools for our kids to mess around with. Very little mess to clean up, portable and great for entertaining kids when they may otherwise be cranky and distracting. But this has to be balanced with regular play and interaction with other kids face-to-face. This combination can be incredibly fruitful, as long as parents find the balance that their kids need in order to succeed in the future.

I don’t know, those are just a few of my thoughts. What do you think of all of this? Is Apple making a positive impact on the world by doing this, or should we be more careful with the products that we are allowing our kids to use?  Is it really going to be that detrimental to education? What kind of cool things have you seen done with Apple? Have a great day, and we’ll see you here tomorrow!

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