1. I recently read a news clip about how "free play" time for children is increasingly limited, and that new research suggests this may have a negative long-term impact. (I wasn't able to find that particular article again, but this article speaks to similar issues, and this one is interesting as a global look at play.)
2. This week, I was also exposed to this video: "Sugata Mitra: Can kids teach themselves?" , which I must say had an immediate impact on my view of educational technology.
Some time during the night, my brain added 1+2 and the result is ...
It isn't a novel idea, but it is one that has lost favor in recent times. Let's give children time to play throughout the day. Let's have regular breaks for physical free play outside in the sun, and lets add regular breaks in the computer lab or classroom (wherever the resources are housed) for technology free play.
If children can self-direct activities with computers (and other digital devices) and collaboratively figure out new learning, why not let them? Everyone (students and teachers) can take a deep breath and have time to play with the technology without the pressure of a grade. The children would learn social negotiation, 21st-century literacy skills, and even language skills at a minimum. They will also have fun and have a chance to laugh while doing it.
Boston College. (2009, April 15). 'Free play' for children, teens is vital to social development. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from Science Centric: http://www.sciencecentric.com/news/article.php?q=09041574-free-play-children-teens-is-vital-social-development
Strong National Museum of Play. (2009, February 02). News Release: Decline of Free Play in Childhood Noted in Sixteen Nations. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from Strong National Museum of Play: http://www.museumofplay.org/about_us/files/playstudy09.pdf
TEDTalks. (2008, August 27). Sugata Mitra: Can kids teach themselves? Retrieved April 16, 2010, from You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRb7_ffl2D0
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2010). Partnership for 21st Century Skills - Home. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from Partnership for 21st Century Skills: http://www.p21.org/