Saturday, June 8, 2013

#blogjune Post 9 - How Young is Too Young for Technology?

I was secretly hoping that someone participating in #blogjune had come up with a meme for me to do today that didn't require much thinking.  I'm not in a thinking or reflective mood this morning and it is nothing to do with the fact that I drank some pink bubbly stuff last night and sang my lungs out!!

Miss A is having a friend over and they will be arriving soon so this will be a slightly rushed post.

My library service recently purchased some iPads with some left over grant funding for our junior collection with the plan to use the iPads in storytime sessions.

My friend, @shewgirl has been using iPads in storytime at her library service and we thought it might be something worth trying in our library service.

However, my new trainee, who is 19 years old, said to me the other day that she is not comfortable using iPads at storytime and thinks it's wrong to have babies (the majority of our storytime attendees are under 3 so we do more rhyme time then storytime) playing with technology.

Admittedly, we are yet to put together a program or have staff training in this area so she may be jumping to conclusions.  But then I thought about when I introduced technology to Miss A.

We did have some fun button pressing toys that had lights and music and sounds but nothing like an iPad.  It is only in the last 2 years (when she turned 6 years old) that we've let her go on the computer and play online games.  And since I brought home the work iPad she has been hooked on Minecraft and another game which I had never seen before.  She now wants us to buy an iPad - that's another story!!

So while I can see the benefit of introducing iPads as another learning tool for babies and toddlers - should we be introducing such technology at this age?  Or is this technology preparing them for how they will be learning in the future?


  1. A pilot program would demonstrate the interest in your community for your planned program. You might be interested in this story from the NYtimes, which discusses using iPads for long distance storytimes (not quite what you were originally attempting, but interesting all the same... good for parents who travel)

  2. I do think that this is the way children will be learning in the future. Aside from that, whether we provide programming or not is a moot point. It is not going to stop parents from letting their children play with their smart phones/tablets/iPads. Why not take the opportunity of showing them the benefits of using ICT from a young age? Show them how to make some informed decisions on suitable apps? I'm at a loss to understand the resistance to using interactive books for Stortyimes and other programs. Children are still being exposed to stories and words and all the other literacy benefits associated with "real" books. Are we stopping adults from reading eBooks as opposed to "real" books? We are going out of our way to try to provide eBooks to our communities, so again, I wonder at the resistance using eBooks for children. We have a waiting list for our iTots session. We ran it once a month for 9 participants. To try and reduce the waiting list, we have increased the session to 12 participants and iTots is now twice a month. It is still not enough. These tools and programs should be part of any public library's toolkit, just like books, videos (remember the resistance to those!), DVDs and magazines, to name a few. I could say more, but I think I'll leave it here :)

  3. Just clarifying that I agree that this will be the way children learn in the future and I also agree that we should be showing them the benefits of using this technology as a learning/playing tool.

    However, your responses have given me something to share with my trainee and other staff who are resistant to doing this. Thank you!!