Thursday, September 22, 2011

iPads: Is Kindergarten too Early?

Schools in Maine, among other states, have launched iPad programs in kindergarten classrooms, but is that too early?

We recently discussed how iPads aren’t just for adults—there are a lot of fun apps designed specifically for early childhood education.

While some are saying the iPad is the "childrens toy of the year," others wouldn’t exactly call a $500 electronic item a child’s toy. In order to appease parents on a budget, companies have developed tablets for kids, but really, it’s only saving about $100 or less depending on which model you get.

All this to beg the questions—should iPads be used in early childhood education? Aside from being used by early childhood education staff to keep track of student information, there are many parents who are against iPads being used as an educational tool for their children. In fact, when iPads were going to be used in kindergarten classrooms, parents fought back, causing quite the debate. Parents started a Facebook Group. and the subject of the debate ultimately got national coverage

One parent, whose son was about to start kindergarten, does not think he’s ready.“iPads could easily lead to a tune-out of peer or teacher instruction in the classroom, because they have this new tool in front of them. My son does speech therapy, he does occupational therapy. He needs to be working on communicating with his peers and engaging with them. Not just being distracted by this instrument in his hand.” It seems as if adults can barely balance socializing and mobile technology, so how can we expect kindergarteners too?

So, do you think kindergarten is too early to use the iPad as an educational tool in the classroom? Why or why not? Share your thoughts by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

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