This is one of many new infant and toddler tech-related creations popping up in stores. This particular product is Fisher Price’s iPad Apptivity Seat labelled for “newborn to toddler”, and advertised as “drool-proof”, ha! I can’t say that this image doesn’t upset me, I’m pretty appauled by it. Going back through all of my early childhood training, this creation is completely developmentally inappropriate. I’m quite certain that many colleagues in my field would share the same sentiment. However, it does alert us to one big, undeniable truth, kids are into this stuff and they are being exposed to it. Babies will probably learn how to swipe their finger across an iPad before they can form their first sentence.
Following on in Living with New Media (2008), the next level of involvement is “messing around”. Children of all ages are currently learning simply by playing around with the devices and programs made available. Apps are being created for very young children, teaching concepts like phonics or number sense, and these kids are learning how to use them at an extremely fast pace, usually without much parental or adult guidance. People of all ages are “messing around” with technology these days for various reasons, and we’re all learning something through it whether we realize it or not.
I began my WordPress blogging adventures last summer because I decided I wanted to begin sharing things that I had been trying out in my classroom. Prior to jumping onto WordPress, my previous school had used Weebly as a blogging platform. It was a very simple drag-and-drop format that made a website really easy to create. Shifting onto WordPress however, the learning curve was a little more drastic for me because many functions were not as obvious. Each time I wanted to try something new I turned to Google and YouTube to find guidance. One of the first things I learned through messing around with WordPress was one way to create a patterned background on my site to give it some personal flair.
Pattern Cooler offers some great options and you can tailor each pattern with colors and textures as well. When you’re done just download it, add it to your media on WordPress and set it as your background image!
Since last summer, I’ve experimented with various plugins such as custom post types, and I am now not only using WordPress for my personal teaching blog but my class blog, COETAIL blog and Traveling Teddy project blog. Each time I have learned more about WordPress because what I want to do with each site is different. Given a purpose and desire to create each site, I’ve gone forward to research and learn more about how to tailor each site, basically “messing around” with it. I also have to say that having the support of my Twitter PLN also really helped. Phil Cowell (@Phillip_Cowell) was one of the people who took the time to give me guidance as I learned how to create my first self-hosted WordPress site!
“Messing around” is valuable for students because it is hands-on learning in technology. If this truly is an interest and passion, development of a personal profile online could lead to deeper understandings behind computer science and coding, for instance. I know that from my experiences with WordPress, that I’ve learned so much since I started my first site and I can’t believe that it hasn’t even been one year yet! Opportunities for students inquire on their own are always valuable, why not allow them to inquire in technology too?