Tablets, babies and reading — Oh my!: Does video signal end of printed material?

The one-year-old reader in the video embedded below appears to show a baby who can’t understand why a print magazine doesn’t have all the digital functionality of an iPad app. (Via How a Modern Baby Thinks About Reading — GalleyCat)

 

While I am an advocate for the importance of understanding how new technologies, such as the iPad, may affect or enhance learning among “digital natives” like this baby, I’m not as convinced this video signals the end of printed material as the video’s creator seems to be:

“Technology codes our minds, changes our OS. Apple products have done this extensively. The video shows how magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives. It shows real life clip of a 1-year old, growing among touch screens and print. And how the latter becomes irrelevant. Medium is message. Humble tribute to Steve Jobs, by the most important person : a baby.” (From the video’s YouTube description.)

I do believe touch-screen technology is instinctive for babies, and I do believe a baby is going to think a device with things moving on a bright screen is a lot more fun to play with than looking at static images on a page. I’m not convinced this baby has yet drawn any lasting conclusions about reading. She’s making the same touching, grasping motions on the magazine pages that babies everywhere have made for generations when exploring the world around them — those very motions are what make touch screen devices so instinctive and rewarding for babies.

I don’t think magazines or books are impossible to understand for young children as the video’s author claims … but they may become so if parents don’t take the time to teach their children about the differences in mediums and the importance of reading.

 

Immigrants embrace tablets: A question of numbers

ownership graph

Graphic from Rebtel.

Rebtel, an independent mobile VoIP company, recently conducted a study of U.S. immigrant and first-generation consumer mobile use and behavior. Their results, released yesterday, indicate that 13 percent of respondents — representing about 5 million people — already own a tablet device. Meanwhile, Read Write Web, in its take on the results, points out that according to the respected non-profit Pew Internet & American Life Project, 4 percent of Americans own tablets and 5 percent own e-readers. Why the gap in adoption rates between immigrants and citizens, Read Write Web ponders. A good question, but perhaps a misleading one.

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