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Education Portables

Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs 355

SpankiMonki sends this news from The Guardian: "Children are arriving at nursery school able to 'swipe a screen' but lack the manipulative skills to play with building blocks, teachers have warned. They fear that children are being given tablets to use 'as a replacement for contact time with the parent' and say such habits are hindering progress at school. Addressing the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Colin Kinney said excessive use of technology damages concentration and causes behavioural problems such as irritability and a lack of control."
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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

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  • Re:Relevant Skills (Score:5, Informative)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @02:14PM (#46771019) Homepage Journal

    The issue is not the building blocks themselves, but the serious lack of coordination skills on the part of the children.

    If you can't get a couple of blocks to snap together, how are you going to deal with tying your shoes?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @02:56PM (#46771621)

    Except that you're actually wrong.

    minifgures (lego people) and their tools/accessories aside, the models today are almost completely made from select colors of commodity pieces.

    What's changed is that the range of commodity pieces has expanded some, and models in general tend to make more use of some more elaborate pieces that attach in ways which allow more articulation of the model as well as smaller pieces (meaning they favor plates over bricks).

    Sure that X-wing may have a special R2-D2 minifigure and windshield piece, but the rest of it will be common plates and a few bricks, with some hinges for the S-foils.

    Now if you're buying the $10 sets you're probably getting like 1-2 mini figures and a tree (or setting apropriate equivalent) and that may look like it's 90% custom molded tree pieces, but when you go for the bigger $60+ sets you get tons of structural pieces.

  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @03:02PM (#46771729) Homepage Journal

    To be honest, I'm really disappointed with the modern lego sets. When I was a kid, I had the city sets, and for the most part they were buildings that you made from brick-shaped bricks with only a few uniquely molded parts for that set. Today there's barely any blocks. They're all cross-licensed tie-ins with movies or cartoons, and so in order to get the assembled set to look like something from The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, 75% of the blocks are special molds.

    There's almost no point in it being a lego toy, because you're just assembling a crude model of an x-wing, and the only thing you can make with the set is...an x-wing. Why not just...play with a model x-wing?

    This is completely wrong. Here's the instructions to the latest X-Wing. [lego.com] Flip to the back and count the number of "special molds" yourself. Do you see anything in there that can't be used for anything but an X-Wing?

  • It's LEGO (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @03:39PM (#46772253)

    Why do you get this wrong? The plural of Lego is Lego, how hard is that?

  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @04:06PM (#46772709) Homepage

    We are talking about little kids. You tend to get them the Big Blocks instead.

    ... because little kids don't have the dexterity to use regular Legos. The reason two year old kids can use an iPad and aren't ready for standard Legos is because the latter requires more skill.

    How did we go from building blocks for 2-year old kids to standard lego blocks? You know there is a difference, do you? If not, please STFU. Just to help you and those who sadly do not know the difference:

    TFA claims claims that exposing kids to technology is causing our civilization to spiral down the drain,

    TFA is not claiming that. You are claiming that it does, though.

    but provides no evidence whatsoever, other than anecdotes and conjecture.

    Anecdotes and conjecture are valid form of preliminary evidence with which to request further scrutiny of something.

    Also, from personal anecdote (feel free to dismiss because ZOMFG anecdote!) kids at that early stage require specific stimulus to develop hand fine grained motor skills. Playing with sand, clay or building blocks (not standard lego blocks, but building blocks for toddlers) help do that.

    Going into the (ZOMG!) anecdote: One of my nephews had a learning disability co-related to not developing hand fine motor skills, some type of proprioception problem related to ADHD/Asperger/Autism. He simply could not hold a pen without it falling off his fingers. Good fortune it was detected on time, and was put on specific corrective therapy to develop not just finger strength but the necessary coordination to do what he needed to do with his hands during that state of his body/mind development.

    Feel free to dismiss this as you wish. Whatever gets your intellectual kicks.

    With that said, I'm not against kids using technology. I was delightfully fascinated when I saw my older daughter (now 5) using my smart phone at the age of 2, and I'm fascinated how my youngest one (1.5 year old) fiddled her way into unlocking my phone (despite it being locked with a swipe-shape lock.)

    But I keep my daughters away from technology if that precludes them from the other type of tactile-proprioceptive activities that have been developed over time to assist in their development: finger painting, puzzles, blocks, sculpting with silly putty, running around.

    All those things are fun, but they are not just for fun. They have an evolutionary purpose.

    There is a reason why kids play with soil instinctively. It is not just curiosity. It is the child mind and body instinctively seeking activities that trigger learning and development.

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @05:50PM (#46774065)
    Yep. I really pissed off my relatives years ago when my daughter and I went to Christmas at their house. I brought every kid two things, a flashlight for reading in bed and a box of clay. The kids and I sat around for hours playing with the clay while the sparkly toys just sat there.
  • LEGO, not LEGOs. (Score:4, Informative)

    by mattack2 ( 1165421 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:28PM (#46775475)

    It is the same singular or plural.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling