I recently read an article about a 1-year old who didn’t quite understand why a print magazine didn’t behave the same way an iPad does.
Here’s the Culture Clip we ran on the subject earlier this week:
How do children growing up surrounded by digital technology respond to old-school, analog media, such as a magazine? Or, as poynter.org contributor Jeff Sonderman put it, “What does it mean to be a digital native?” Sonderman answers that question by linking to a YouTube video titled “A Magazine Is an iPad That Doesn’t Work.” In the video, a toddler struggles to understand why a magazine doesn’t respond like Apple’s tablet computer does when she tries to interact with it. “For my 1-year-old daughter,” the video’s creator comments onscreen, “a magazine is an iPad that does not work. It will remain so for her whole life. Steve Jobs has coded a part of her OS.”
I totally get that! My own 8-month-old girl likes to point at the numerous App icons on our iPad 2 and watch what happens once one’s been touched. Cute little animal apps are a hit. But for us the real fun is sliding a printed piece of media in front of her. She tries to make it move, but it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t jump or slide or make a funny sound. So she must figure something’s wrong with it.
Sometimes I wonder what she’ll be doing her homework on when she’s older. “Did you finish your assignments?” I’ll ask. “Yeah, Dad, it’s all on the microchip that’s in my brain and I’ve already uploaded them to the main school’s cloud server.” Yup, it’s an iWorld we live in. And it can’t help but change the way we’re wired. I’ve seen it firsthand.