Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh, Those Techie Kids

About a month ago, my husband and I had to go to the mall (something we almost never do, and actively loathe) to buy new phones. Our previous models lasted us three years, but were finally just done, so we hauled the family out to the Apple store to get new ones.

In the store I was practicing with the camera on my new phone, and snapped the following shots of the kids helping themselves to the plentiful opportunities to explore the most recent technologies on the market.

At home later- as I reviewed my shots- I was taken aback at how facile those quick shots revealed my children to be with new technology. At this point we didn't yet have iphone 4s or an ipad (we bought them that day), but both of the older children just picked them up and started to use them without hesitation. No teaching- technology is such an integral and natural part of their world that they just began using the new devices.

This got me thinking about technology beyond ipad apps and Angry Birds.

Beyond using the technology, there is- of course- building the technology. Do my children, who have used everything from a Wii to an iphone, know what's inside these devices?

I had to know. 

So I pulled out a few of our old laptops (yes, we have a laptop graveyard in our basement- computers which I hoped to someday resurrect but never did), and set the kids to work pulling one apart. 

You can't imagine how exciting this was for my five year old. He used Daddy's real tools (with supervision) to unscrew, dissect. He pulled out chips, labels, and parts we couldn't name, all the while guessing and surmising what each piece might be for, in what capacity it might be used. "Which parts made the computer turn on?", he wondered. "Which parts make the games appear?" It was such a joy to watch the gears in his mind turn, even as his fingers pulled the "gears" from the computer.

When he was finished, he kept his pieces in a storage container for quite a while. It seemed to him, I think, that these bits were the result of significant effort on his part, so he should keep them close. After a while I suggested that maybe he'd like to make a robot collage with the pieces, and he seemed to think that was acceptable.

My boy who doesn't like art very much at this point in his life found a whole new way to embrace his creativity, his inquisitive nature, and his interest in technology using an activity that I hadn't planned, aligned with state standards or anything of the sort. He just experimented, played, explored, learned.

I like that.


  1. There is so much to love about this post! I have an old lap top just sitting around, we've been getting around to recyclling it and this post is perfect inspiration. I love that it ended up in collage too.

  2. I LOVE the idea of letting kids take stuff apart. I think it opens a whole new world for them.



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