This year, The Consumer Electronic Show was full of gadgets and fun things for people of all ages. But what about the educational value of kid-centric consumer electronics? While Lego Mindstorms is an easy example, it can cost upwards of $350 for the basic set.
Kids@Play Interactive coordinator Warren Buckleitner says that this year, the kids’ tablet market is the new battleground to watch.
“Toy, media and hardware companies all know that a child’s tablet is just a $150 or so down-payment on a future in content sales,” he wrote on the Kids@Play Web site. “A fact that other big players like Microsoft (Surface), Google (Nexus) and Amazon (Kindle) also understand.”
“You’re seeing what I’m calling the ‘renaissance of pedagogy,'” Robin Raskin, president and founder of Living in Digital Times, told the LA Times. “It used to be only the elite, elite, elite that could learn the stuff you needed to learn to be a well-rounded person. Now two-year-olds are learning physics.”
Think about it — any child has access, via an affordable Android or iOS tablet, to an amazing array of educational resources. A tremendous variety of tablet apps offer spectacular access to learning across a diverse spectrum of topics. YouTube EDU brings nothing but educational videos to its portal site, letting kids of all ages and ability learn how the world works. iTunes U is an app for iPad that allows anyone to deliver course content to students at every level, and those students to find amazing educational opportunities with nothing more than a WiFi connection and a desire to learn. While primarily aimed at adults, TED Talk Videos can be used by teachers and parents to help kids get new perspectives every day. The Khan Academy offers over 3,000 educational videos from teachers who love to teach their favorite subjects, like math, science, economics, and literature. Kids can access these from a dedicated app on iOS or Android, or just hop onto the web to see them.
So, as we go about our daily lives, looking for new gadgets and toys to encourage our children to become lifelong learners, we won’t have as far to go. More and more, the iPad and Android tablet that is already in our homes, cars, and offices will be the delivery system for a new generation of learners. How exciting!