Shepherd Chimururi Cool Lifestyle Correspondent
As the debate on feasibility of the updated e-learning driven curriculum rages on one question still stands. What is the value of technology toys to infants?
Where we used to play pada — play stations, nhodo — clicking and typing, chihwandehwande — mortal combat, chikweshe all day long — Fifa 17, where we used to shout for our neighbours to hear us — now text, the list is endless.
Within the home environment children have access to technology from a very young age via televisions, play stations and computers with easy access. Children need to be exposed to technology early because they are already living in the new age where everything is operated automatically.
However, technology toys pose a dilemma for both school authorities and parents on what are the best toys. Each and every toy has its own advantages and disadvantages. Examine the pros and cons of toys available and make informed decisions.
It is within this environment that traditional concepts of play are being influenced. Early childhood settings reflect children’s environments therefore the introduction of technology would be a natural consequence. Play is central to children’s development and learning, consequently technology play is influential.
To benefit children’s development and learning, technology play has to be inclusive and developmentally appropriate with attention to technology placement while ensuring the learning is curriculum based. To extend the learning experience skilled educators have to scaffold children’s learning experience with different tools, technology play can thus be a useful tool.
Manufacturers are developing new toys that utilise technology, mini computers for the young that use software programmes to help children with Maths and spelling are readily available. Interactive toys have great potential to educate. There are many areas of children’s development with the three major domains as cognitive, physical and psychosocial.
The use of technology in areas of mathematical content and literacy can support children who have difficulty. Computer software can build on problem solving skills and conceptual skills.
Technology toys enhance children’s learning potentials. They provide excellent learning because they offer learning in small packages. For instance, tablets can allow children to play apps related to Science that they can never appreciate without the graphics, sounds or videos. They promote technological awareness.
Computer toys promote active learning as they allow children to play physically with other children. Active play is the best form of exercise for kids. On the other hand they enhance communication and socialisation skills. As children play with their peers, they engage in communication and socialise better. They learn the virtue of sharing; saying please and sorry.
They create an avenue for increasing children’s gross and fine motor skills. Since children get to hold the toys in real time and manipulate them, their gross and fine motor skills are enhanced.
Technology toys have also disadvantages. They promote sedentary lifestyle. They tend to reduce their active play promoting sedentary lifestyle and increasing chances of childhood obesity.
Technology toys pose a risk for electrocution. Some gadgets may require electricity to function so whenever children try to plug them, they can be a source of accidents at home. Make sure to assist children, when there is a need to plug something in.
Small detachable parts may pose choking hazards. Some may encourage violence in children so check the content first. Toys that are not carefully chosen for kids can create a sense of violence in children such as toy guns, swords and others.
The toys are imported from mostly China which means there is no collaboration on content and presentation between the producer and the consumer.
Most under resourced schools ask parents to buy their children computer toys.
This is a cocktail of disaster as the toys come in different types.
Shepherd Chimururi Executive Director — Dzidzo Inhaka Audio Visual LearningMobile:+263 772 608 276 [email protected] www.dzidzoinhaka.co.zw