Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the push to sell computers to kids

In the news this morning, was a story about Intel's effort to push computers more firmly into the lives of kids. Parents will no doubt do their Pavlovian consumer jump in response. (If they can still afford it.)

As computers become more intuitive and responsive, requiring less and less skill to operate, they require less education to use and provide less educational value in their use, but parents are of course worried that if kids don't start on laptops at the earliest age possible, they will be left behind.

Here are some simple skills that all kids need and regardless of changing circumstances will always need that they won't learn by sitting at laptops.

1. Get along with each other.
2. Manipulate and explore the materials and relationships in the real world.
3. Do stuff, make stuff, fix things.
4. Stay physically fit.
4. Solve real problems.
5. Learn the interpersonal skills necessary to lead others.

Can it be that any of these skills are equal in importance to being able to game and to google? You will note in the article that the push for kids is really about increasing chip sales, and insuring a whole new generation of consumers for Intel products. Who cares if we are smart as long as we consume? Mindlessly, right?

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