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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 29 2012: I think we should be amazed at this not because kids are able to navigate a device as I am sure it is learned but for the fact that we are still discovering things about our race. I think it would be equally important to discover that children had no idea what to do with an electronic device and I suspect people would lose their marbles trying to figure out that inability but instead we say they are amazing, call it something and give credit to Apple or whoever for making an amazing device.

    It is huge that we as humans are still adapting and we are learning more about ourselves through the use of technology. Is is a new type of learning? On a biological level I'm not so sure but culturally... absolutely. We started writing about 5000 years ago. Was that a new type of learning? we are in the middle of a technological revolution and we are learning in dramatically different ways than we did 100 years ago.

    Kids are amazing, maybe I am bias because I have a young one myself but I know her ability to navigate an iPad is something else from the feeling I get, this intuition that it isn't natural and seems a little odd to me. I know that isn't scientific but there is something to be said about that split second feeling I get when I see her using it effectively.

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