Emerging Technologies for Young Children

Evaluating the Learning Benefits of New Forms of Interaction

Authored by: Andrew Manches

Handbook of Design in Educational Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415807340
eBook ISBN: 9780203075227
Adobe ISBN: 9781135118969


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The most typical form of interaction with learning technologies is through a mouse and keyboard. These devices not only constrain interaction, but can challenge younger children’s dexterity. Emerging technologies present novel ways to interact with digital materials. Touch screen computers, gesture recognition devices, and tangibles (digitally augmented physical objects) exemplify technologies that offer alternative, more accessible and, arguably, more engaging, forms of interaction. Yet, focusing on ‘accessibility’ or ‘engagement’ reflects a limited vision of their potential to support learning. The last couple of decades have furthered our understanding of the role of interaction in thinking and learning. By changing the way that children interact with materials, we need to consider how new devices may change the way children think and learn. This is particularly important in children’s early years, given the significance attributed to their physical interaction with the world.

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