I bought a second hand "obsolete" small form factor PC for her and her younger sister to use which runs Edubuntu quite nicely.
Despite having access to iPad's if they want to use them, 90% ++ of the time they prefer to use the PC, apart from the odd game they still like on the iPad.
That is a bit of a problem, particularly for our youngest (four years old) who tends to watch and learn with limited opportunity to repeat.
So, I'm now looking for another "obsolete" PC for her too, I don't think she has much more to learn from an iPad now.
iPads are a great way to get kids started / exploring technology but are a very small goldfish bowl, I think by the second or third lap most kids are pretty well done with it technically. Beyond that the only scope is to install more games and let them follow the growing herd of "digital natives" aka digital semi literates.
Very enlightening Jez H - I don't have a 4 year old to confirm - only a 25 and 23 year old and if they want ipads they can buy their own; I can't even afford one myself I'd be interested to see what comments you get from your observations.
Firstly, I'm with Douglas Adams on the technology front:
3 Rules that Describe Our Reactions to Technologies
"I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
- Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
- Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
- Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things"
I have too many cousins to count (50+) that are mostly 20 or more years
younger than me and so I've seen them grow up with various "new"
technologies. They see everything as new and so don't distinguish between a teddy bear, typewriter, pen, pencil, paint, and paper, TV, games console, PC, smartphone, or tablet. They only care about how useful and entertaining it is to them; some children may be more interested in devices than others, ranging from obsessive to indifferent. If the technology was "new" before they were old enough to be aware of the PR, marketing, and hype surrounding them, they'll more than likely be unaware of any "wow factor" that we once held for them... until the next new shiny fad-gadget came along.
I also question Marc Prensky's assertion of there being digital natives and immigrants (See them here: http://www.cedma-europe.org/newsletter%20articles/misc/Digital%20Natives%20-%20Digital%20Immigrants%20%28Jun%2001%29.pdf ). I haven't seen any coherent arguments to back it up, only assertions and speculation, although the idea does seem to have captured adults' and the media's imaginations. I remember reading a research paper investigating the hypothesis and they found that it was a false dichotomy, that age had little to do with digital literacy, and that adults, as you'd expect, tend to be more productive and creative on digital tools than children or teenagers (better developed cognitive and meta-cognitive skills and better self-regulation). Sorry, can't remember the title but I think it was commissioned by an agency of the EU, maybe the Council of Europe?
PCs seem to have endured well since their introduction into homes and schools. They are very general purpose tools than can do a wide range of interesting and thought provoking things. Narrow consumer devices are unlikely to hold most people's attention for long and so manufacturers will always have to come up with new ones to keep our interest up and so that we can discard the old ones. Sounds like a profitable business model to me.