November 16, 2010

Preschoolers and Mobile Technology

A November 2010 report describes the affects of new media and mobile technologies on young children and their families. The report, Learning: Is there an app for that?, touts the educational benefits of well-designed mobile apps for preschoolers. It also cites the reality of preschoolers using mobile devices--often, their parent's device passed to them in the backseat, a phenomenon labeled the "pass-back" effect. I'm familiar with the practice.

This Tech & Learning article summarizes the findings of the report and provides additional information. For example, a 2009 content analysis of the iTunes App Store (education section) revealed that 60% of the top-selling paid applications targeted toddlers and preschoolers.

When I upgraded my smartphone recently, I removed the sim card from my old iPhone and Magda set it up for Lucy to use as an iPod Touch. When I commented about this recently in a backchannel during class, one of our students (future teacher) asked what does a 3-year old need with an iPod? Well, Lucy loves to...

  • Take pictures--even photo essays of sorts of her dolls and environment. 
  • Swipe thru pictures she has taken and also of our family and friends
  • Watch movies--home movies from our Flip camera, episodes of her favorite shows, movies downloaded from YouTube (her channel and others)
  • Record and listen to herself singing songs--sometimes to recall the melody of a song to begin singing it. 
  • Listen to music
  • Play--some apps support cognitive development while others build fine motor skills (psychomotor) or appeal to her emotionally (affective domain).
  • Explore. She's just curious to figure out what the device can do. I believe this is particularly important, because she is developing a fluency with new interfaces and input devices (gestures, voice recognition, etc.). 
Now, we just need to mount one of these interactive displays on the wall in her preschool classroom!

Lucy's teacher, Donna, just directed me to this related Sesame Street video. :-)


  1. I would love to have an interactive display like that in our classroom! The possibilities would be just about endless I think!

  2. Check out this blog link featuring the video of a 4 year old girl narrating StarCraft II played by her father.
    I especially like the author's comment "I feel like what we have here is a classic, affectionate parental gesture translated perfectly into the digital realm"