Sunday, May 24, 2009

Slide to unlock.... at age 2

Photo Credit

Sometimes I am amazed at how flexible the human brain is.

I attended a 2nd birthday celebration for my nephew last week. The event went as most family birthdays usually do.... candles, cake, presents, happy children, grass stained pants, kool-aid stained faces, and an abundance of smiles.

As we were preparing to leave, my nephew got his hands on my brother's iPhone. I was afraid the birthday boy was going to damage the hand-held wonder. WOW, was I short-sighted. What followed was simply amazing.

The boy that had just turned 2 years old was able to unlock the phone, find his favorite song, and play it for me (dancing included). He then searched through several pages of photos to show me one of his favorites. I just stood there in amazement. I had no idea that a child that had just turned 2 was capable of operating such a complicated device.

The event lasted only minutes, but it has lead to hours of reflection.
  • What else is a 2 year old capable of that we have never imagined?
  • If a toddler can work an iPhone, what can a kindergarten student do with a laptop?
  • Are people of all ages capable of much more than we think?
  • Why do we prohibit the iPhones and similar technologies in schools?
  • What will the next generation be doing at their 2nd birthday parties?

I'm starting to know how my parents felt when my brother and I did some pretty cool stuff with our Commodore 64 a few (many) years ago.

Photo Credit

Where will it go from here? I can only imagine......

What are your visions of the future?
Feel free to leave a comment below.


Jeff Lewis said...


I had a similar, although not quite as dramatic, experience at my daughter's birthday party. I was talking with the father of twin girls who are in my daughter's class. We were talking about books and how to get kids at that age (6-7 years old) engaged in reading while they are just learning and getting excited about the process. He told me both of his girls have iPod touches and he found an app where his girls would record the book that they read, calculate a "value" of the book somehow, and get paid by him. (Unfortunately, I don't have details, I am not an iPhone or Touch user so this is another language for me.)

I have to admit, I was pretty shocked that two 1st graders had their own iPod touches. I just walk by them when I am at Target, fog up the display case with my hot breath and then leave. But he does work for Apple and probably gets them for nothing. And really, good for him for engaging his kids in this kind of emerging technology to boost their love for reading. They were also happily snapping and editing pictures of the party and sharing them with us.

I like to tell my fourth graders that I did all of my papers on a **gasp** typewriter when I was in COLLEGE!

gail said...

Thanks for asking Scott. I teach at the kindergarten level and agree with your reflections. There seems to be a short window of time in a person's life when we can learn almost anything rapidly. Of course, it is important to use that new knowledge in order for it to be retained. Think about all that an infant has to learn in order to communicate and survive. It's astounding. That is one of the reasons I support the idea of mandatory preschool. As well intentioned as some folks may be, there is no substitute for good solid exploration and discovery. About 30-40% of my students have never been to preschool. In some cases their experience has been rich but in too many homes, the TV is the teacher and the babysitter. Watching others explore and do things is not the same as solving problems and meeting challenges on your own.

Linda704 said...

Wow! That is pretty amazing!

Lisa Parisi said...

I think it is amazing that a 2 year old was able to handle the iPhone this way. But I really shouldn't be amazed. My daughter had her own computer when she was 3. We had to get her one since she kept taking ours. She would load her own games, get them started and play them all. At the time, a mouse was pretty new and we were amazed at her skills with it. Now she amazes me with how she learns programs on her own. At 13, she thinks nothing of searching for online tutorials on how to create something in Flash or Photoshop that she saw on someone else's Deviant Art site. I think at 13 I was proud of my hunt and peck skills on the manual typewriter. Times are changing.

neochonetes said...

I love to hear these stories. The human mind is quite flexible. Several of our PLN are helping their offspring and grandchildren. The kids are interested, so let's don't stand in their way. I am still smiling. Thanks!