The four year old boy of my landlord one day took my Laptop and commented “Uncle Come, site here and now I’ll show you how to use this.” And today morning while working, suddenly I found the taskbar of my laptop has moved to the left side. This boy was there playing in my room while watching what am I doing. Suddenly he comes up to me and pushing my hand away, got hold of the mouse to get the taskbar back to its bottom position. That’s nothing short of an achievement, if you consider the fact that I had been trying to this for a long time yet failing. Many more such incidents that I faced with different kids I have come to the conclusion that today’s kids take to Technology naturally.
Here is my own assessment on why kids take naturally to technology. I might be wrong or maybe there are more reasons behind the same.
Today’s children are born into technology. Today’s kids are growing up with technology all around them. This kiddo has played with and used all devices that he can lay his hands on be it TV remotes, cell phone, laptops, DVD players etc etc. One of his fav plays being; he has to punch the keys on the computer and write a make-believe document. He prefers this activity to writing on paper. In fact, that’s where he reinforces visual recognition of letters and knows the exact position/function of all the keys.
Children are inquisitive naturally. As adults we become accustomed to doing thing in a particular manner. Our first reaction to something new is to test our prior knowledge and if something does not conform to our existing schema, we are at a loss.
This is not the case with kids. They are not burdened with prior knowledge. They will push and pull, touch and jab till they figure it out. If a particular method does not work, they try something new. They have all the perseverance and determination in the world. And they are ever ready to learn. The beauty of the child is that he functions from the state of not knowing – And that is the secret of learning.
Children are devoid of fear when trying first time. Fear is one of the biggest reasons why us adults produce sub-optimal results – fear of failure, fear of damaging, fear of doing something that will result in additional costs, etc. Kids when they set out to do a task, they display all the creativity in the world because they are not thinking about the consequences. The only thing that limits a child in his interaction with technology is his environment and interest.
But are these characteristics of children restricted to technology alone? No they are not. Children’s interactions with people and materials are based on their natural instincts that are hardwired into them. As we grow older, some of these natural instincts get suppressed, due to control and compliance.
As caregivers and teachers, we should nurture and enhance these natural instincts, within reasonable parameters of safety. It is a grave injustice to them to burden them with the baggage we adults have grown accustomed to carry.