Kids & The Future, Now & Then
The NYTimes on mini-generation gaps:
Researchers…theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.
“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”
NBC, are you listening?
The iGeneration…spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks.
Electronic play is now a routine part of schooling. In September, 11-year-old Murphy Stein, who has been surrounded by electronic objects since infancy, will be going into the sixth grade in a Los Angeles public school. Last year his classroom contained one laser disk player, 35 Macintosh computers, a few television monitors, a tape player and a video camera. The computers, donated by Apple Computer, are used for writing and for creating interactive books that include video, sound and text.
The video camera was used for a project in which the children wrote, produced and filmed their own television news shows.
”Every kid I know,” Murphy said, ”feels comfortable with electronics.”
Remember the laser disk?
Interactive laser disks are also available commercially from the Voyager Company. They include AmandaStories for kids who cannot yet read: – three disks of interactive tales in which the child moves the characters from one adventure to another. Other Voyager disks might perhaps one day replace the home encyclopedia: an electronic version of the National Gallery of Art already available, for example, comes complete with reproductions that can be sorted and viewed using a computer.
Whatever. Tech costs money.
Sadly, Marco Rubio notwithstanding, kids born poor (and there are more of them) are likely to die poor. “By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults.”