Enda O'Donoghue on Wed, 16 Nov 2005 01:49:15 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Use of Computers in Preschools

While catching up with a friend recently, she was telling me that her 
son has just started in a Montessori and that he is really enjoying
using the computers there. At first I assumed she meant some sort of
toy computers but no they have real computers- I must admit I was
shocked. Children from 3 years old using computers, it just seems
totally wrong to me. I asked her what they are doing on the computers,
"oh you know playing little games and things, and he is learning to
use the mouse and keys", I was told. She then blew me way by saying
that most preschools, kindergartens and Montessori's she knows have
computers now. I have made a quick search on the web and come across
countless news paper reports stating the benefits of sticking
preschoolers in front of computers and countless sources for preschool
software. Try it stick "computers" and "preschool" into Google 
and just see what I mean: from "A computer desk designed for
preschoolers" to "Young children improve basic English skills
while playing computer games." to "Don't judge a preschool by
whether it has computers" to "Preschoolers who use computers are

First please excuse me if this is an old, worn out topic that has been 
dealt with here ad nauseum. And I am sorry if this isn't the right
forum for questioning this- don't know where else to turn.

Are there studies out there that really support the use of computers for
preschool children? I was under the impression that there was a body of
literature which states the opposite.  I would love to hear people's
opinions, am I being naive to hold the opinion that it is simple
common sense not to have young kids using computers. I don't mean
to sound condescending, but to me the motivations given for having
computers in preschools all sound to me like the reasoning of people
that struggle with the basics of daily computer use and want that there
children will be up-to-date.  Do I sound old fashioned? Or like a bit of
Luddite? I'm not, I scream but my 3 year old will have to be an
expert at building things with toilet roll inserts before he learns how
to make some turtle move around the screen.

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