Friday, December 16, 2005

Educational value of toddler tech toys?

Was this investigation even necessary?

An article in the Mercury news reported that the Kaiser Family Foundation on interactive media discovered that many video games, software titles and DVDs have not been proven to increase either the IQ or cognitive abilities of kids. Really? You mean one on one parent time is better that a piece of software? Astounding.

The article

The Report

With absolutely no knowledge of developmental and evolutionary biology, or cognitive science, I could have come to this conclusion relatively quickly. (I am sure you could have also. I am not particularly intuitive.) It is really interesting how often this has to be re-discovered over the years.

I thought that the most interesting part of the article was a quote from Marsha Grimsley of the Brainy Baby Company (This not a Saturday Night Live skit...that is the actual name of a company.) She is quoted as saying, "Parents must be finding something beneficial or there wouldn't be such demand for this new category of products."

Marsha must be completely unfamiliar with the lemming-like behavior of suburban parents when it comes to the potential of their little darlings! I even purchased one of those black and white bulls eyes for my sons crib in an attempt to raise his SAT scores as an infant. I didn't seek a study that proved that it worked. All I knew is that I started seeing them on changing tables around town and felt My son was falling behind! (I also owned a pet-rock once...but I digress.) I'm sorry to say that many digital purchases for the three and under set might occur in this way. It is not necessarily a confirmation of the quality of the products.

Give the kid a few years before you digitize them. Their nervous system will thank you! :-)

Ho Ho Ho

Jim :-)


Gary Stager said...

Who cares if anything a preschooler does results in school-based measures of intelligence?

What if the kid just enjoys the truck, doll, LEGO or DVD?

BTW: The "experts" cited in the piece confuse the fact that 99% of all educational software is and has always been junk with the potential of computers in the creative and intellectual development of kids.

The sorry state of educational computing and the anti-intellectual, standards-chasing, self-important, unimaginative actions of its leading organizations is committing to the parody of what used to be a group of educators on the frontier of progress.

Jim Forde said...

What do you really mean Gary! :-)

Jim :-)