A few weeks ago, I started a conversation with Sara Adelmann, the Screen Time Project Manager of the advocacy group Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood. Though I’m sure many of you are familiar, they are the group that took down the specious claims of Baby Einstein and most recently raised the alarm about the ipad bouncy seat.They have strong concerns about the overuse of screens with very young children, the pressure of advertising to sell screens to the ever-emerging market of young children and the pressure on parents to prepare their children for a high-tech world.
We’ve been having a conversation about the shift in what it means to be in a cutting edge technological field today, and how the edge is shifting from one that is contained in a virtual, screen-based world, to one that responds to, interacts with, and navigates the real world. The examples that sparked this discussion were the Darpa robotics challenge, Drones, 3D printing and microbe-based technologies. Many of these from reading and discussing these topics on BoingBoing.
It seems to me that now that those fields collectively represent a bit of a shift in what is considered the core of emerging tech. I would expect that his would bring with it the expectations of future professionals, that more than ever, they must have a powerful spatial imagination, a sensitivity to the complexities of human interactions with technology in the world, and problem solving skills more akin to inventive engineers.This would drive the conversation about child development away from screen obsession and back toward the rich interactions with people and the world that early childhood professionals have long held as fundamental.
A secondary topic has been the open-source nature of a lot of experimentation, and the interplay and tensions between the commercial applications of these fields and the strong sharing culture that is integrated into these new fields.
We’re hoping to start this conversation, and illuminate the links between early childhood and new technology, and ultimately to find representatives of the fields of robotics, biotech and 3D printing to share ideas about the expected skills, talents and qualities sought for professionals in their respective fields. I would love to hear thoughts from any of you brilliant folks about this topic. If any of you work in early childhood or any of the tech fields discussed, all the better!