Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Montessori Materials on the I-phone and use of computers

I was checking out the Montessori Goldmine and saw this post. I to got the emails from Montessorium. I am against young children using computers. My father has an IT software company and we grew up with the latest computers and programs. I saw what it did to my younger brothers and our generation as we grew up addicted to looking at a screen and pushing buttons. I decided to keep Little-N away from it as much as possible.

If he needs to play a game, we play a board game, if he needs to write a letter he writes it by hand, if he needs to draw a picture he does it on paper and if he needs to research something he uses books, loads of books and he always get the information he needs. What would a computer or I-Pad offer him? I ask my self, what is missing from his life that a computer will give him. Now that he is 6 and I have kept him away for digital media, it is safe to say he has learnt to use all the real materials. No just use them, but enjoy them and they have become a part of him.

Even though I have kept him away from computers, he has surprised me by already knowing how to use a computer. He can switch it on, open a google and search for something. He can type if he talks to his dad. and he knows what everything is and for. He learnt that through observation as he sees me use my computer.

A Montessori teacher that I studied under [an 80yr old, who studied with a direct student of Montessori] often spoke about how she believed Montessori would be against the use of computers in the classroom. She said that when you weigh it up, it causes more harm that any good to a child especially when the child is young.

I can easily say that each child I taught who had problems in concentrating or learning watched to much TV or computer games. As soon as the parent agreed to cut down the TV and computer to only weekends the child changed. This doesn't mean that every child if badly effected, but it does effect them in some way or another.

For now Little-N wont be using a computer and TV is very limited. When he is older, probably 10 or more I will begin teaching him the use of a computer. Starting with the use of the Office applications and followed by using graphics programs. Until then, I am prepared to keep his environment rich enough to provide him with the correct materials he needs to learn and be happy.

1 comment:

Carey said...

I have a few children of my own, and similar to Little-N's age (ages 6, 5, 4 later this month, 2.5 and 1.5). We are heavily integrated with computers in our family (uh, mom and dad anyway), but our children do not have one to use for themselves. Granted they flock to the kids section when we visit the Apple store, but they know mom & dad mean business, we're not there to buy them anything. Anyway, we do have iPads and iTouches; yet we integrate them as tools. I have downloaded these particular two apps, as well as a few other apps to do with the older children (regarding maths, time, museum artwork, dinosaur info from famous museums). I treat it as a tool, complete with a presentation. I also approach it as I would with other Montessori material - that particular 'work' is to be shared, and only 1 child will use it at a time when appropriate; at home we use the 'real 3-D' materials if they are available. It certainly does not sit on the shelf for the kids to use whenever they please. I have found it handy when we are out and about, waiting for another child to finish with a class or activity. (I don't bring the red rods with me in the car usually...) These Montessorium versions are quite good, and seem to preserve the nature of Montessori, and as much of the sensory experience as possible while limited to a touch screen (ie: sandpaper sound). There are no bells and whistles, there are no flashing lights, there is no buzzer sound if a child does something 'wrong'. The verbal responses are the same as what is expected from a Montessori teacher. Other 'games' (under the disguise of education) for mainstream should consider taking tips!
Anyway, another pro iPad/iTouch thought. I have found them to be a great resource, and teach the kids that that is truly what they are, tools and resources, not games. And, I have even considered giving them a purpose in place of the multitude of photocopies and laminated materials, for when I would be using them to work one-on-one with a child anyway. If you want to discuss more, outside your blog, feel free to e-mail me. BTW- no WII for us (real gym, martial arts, tennis, music classes), but yes, somehow the kids have learned to use it....