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Should we really be so impressed that kids can use digital things?

It IS impressive for a 2 year old to navigate an iPad to find her show, or even manipulate her singing dog to play her favourite song. But, isn't this just memory and habitual skills? We are so amazed at how kids can navigate these relatively more complex toys, because we sure never had the same intuition with them. But is it really a higher-form of learning? I suspect that it's not really. If these things break down, kids don't know why or how. They can't fix them--this just reveals a consumer-level of knowledge, still. Being a digital native, whatever that is, is largely passive.

I really like the idea of true tinkering, creation, first principles and just making things from scratch. And not with just digital things: creating a meal, a garden, a wearable garment, a vehicle etc. Though, if we are going to talk digital--we need the programmers. Why is it that everyone can complain about what's wrong with Facebook, and no one can hack a better version?

I don't know, surfing, deciphering, clicking on the right spots and knowing what technology can do for you is one category of skiils, but this is quite separate from an understanding of the depth, algorithms and logic behind building a system that enables the "magic"--we need to save our awe for THAT.

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  • Nov 22 2012: " If these things break down, kids don't know why or how. They can't fix them--this just reveals a consumer-level of knowledge, still."

    I disagree a little with this. See, we have overcome the time were we could fix any or almost any item we have in daily use. But, we devoloped all our technology so far, that we are away from mechanical machines to hybrids of mechanical and "virtual" components, up to nowadays tools were its more or less that that what we use is just a container for something virtual inside.

    Years ago you could open your telephone and more or less discover which part does what. Today, you can open it, but you can look at it all your life, you will not discover how the sound is transported, as there is no wire anymore. The diffrence is, today you can split each part into another part and you will not discover the secret, while you could do this in past. In past you could teach yourself, today it is much more difficult.
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      Nov 25 2012: That's the scary part--as a race, we've innovated beyond blueprints. At least, then, we should prepare ourselves to live alternatively and cope when these systems break down. But I don't think we do. Our cars to our banking systems to our iPads are made of ??? and without a plan, we are REALLY causing a more entrenched dependency, don't you think?

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