In response to: “The Last Generation of Kids That Played Outside”

A link to this post was placed on EdTech SA’s Facebook wall today and it made me cross…..  I began to post a response and then realised it was paragraphs long… so… here it is:

That post made me a little cross…..

Fast forward to this current generation where the majority of kids sit inside staring at… an iPad.”
Just because kids have iPads does not mean that they do not play outside, take risks, go on adventures, dream and innovate. I know, as a person who was always on my PC and – as a child and an adult – have been known to spend 10 hours straight playing computer games – my ability to be creative or innovative have not been hampered. I was encouraged to have other interests. As a kid, I was equally guilty of spending hours on my musical compositions – to the point of obsession… Most parents understand the need to moderate the use of well… anything… Books for hours on end? Go outside! Lego for hours on end? Go outside…. 10 hours on anything isn’t always a great idea … if it’s at the expense of a well rounded experience of life.

“You could create a game with pinecones and sticks.” Maybe they can create a game with scratch or something else? A digital domain is just as innovative as the garden at times. In fact, it could be argued that the domains children can operate within, when using a digital medium, open us up to far more opportunities to be creative and innovative.  What about having some Augmented reality friends to join or even direct you on your adventures outside? How about the students who are creating apps that are becoming commercially viable and are at the edge of innovation? They’ve not even left school yet and they’re changing the world.

Are we losing the sense of wonder that we used to posses?” Oh yes…because of iPads… Everyone has definitely stopped asking questions…

“Are we lazily reading Twitter instead of showing our kids the endless possibilities of curiosity and dreams?” Or are we making meaningful connections and learning and innovating with those we are connected with? Making their learning connected and personal so that they are inspired to seek solutions to the problems they see in the world?

“Let’s raise a generation of kids that build bird houses and sprinkler shows. A generation that plants bean seeds, maple leafs or whatever else their minds can dream up.” But don’t let them film the process on an iPad using time lapse so they can marvel at the creative process and really get to grips with how they did it and what they learnt. Definitely don’t let them share it with a real audience somewhere on the web and certainly don’t let them design it first using any kind of design app…

I can only assume this post made EdtechSA cross too? These kinds of post are so single minded and technocentric (possibly bordering on technophobic) and the only way they can help us (both as parents or teachers) is to use them as a basis for discussion, debate and reflection.  They could be described (perhaps ironically, given the subject of the post) as anti-innovation.

How would you respond to the post?  Let that debate begin!

3 Comments
  1. Melissa 3 years ago

    Just read this while in the midst of applying for a grant for 20 iPads. Ironically, I was searching digitally for information that supports iPads in the outdoor classroom. Great post!

    • Author
      Selena 3 years ago

      Thanks Melissa. Those generalised, single minded posts really get me angry!! lol Glad you liked my response.

  2. Nate Hanson 3 years ago

    Hey Selena,

    I wrote “The Last Generation of Kids That Played Outside.” I greatly appreciate your review and thoughts on my piece. I would love to continue this discussion. http://twitter.com/natemhanson

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