Will mobile apps reshape toys and learning?

The Sandbox Summit took place on 17-18 April in Cambridge MA, at the MIT Media Lab. This conference was about exploring the mobile revolution and its role in children’s play, with educators and technologists discussing new and better ways to reach Generations Y and Z and build their skills for the 21st century.

Their current quests revolve around designing toys that bridge offline play with online apps, and designing interactive and educational toys that involve “playful learning.” Both of these will contain elements that focus on teaching children of all ages to work as part of a team and collaborate.

Microsoft’s Games are hoping that

“…new experiences through interactive games with the Kinect gesture interface can enhance family interactions.”

So does this mean…

  • There are findings that kids who have been swallowed up in digital media for years have lost the ability to communicate with their families?
  • There is now enough concern about this and about kids’ other social issues for some technological giants to take action to try and address them?
  • One of the best ways to address family and social issues is by educating kids using more digital media products?

Here’s an interesting statement from Microsoft’s Games:

“Learning through games or interactive media should improve children’s problem-solving skills, which is a break from today’s educational system of transferring information from teachers to students.”

If technological giants are now trying to share the load in our kids’ education & social skills development, but are actually unaware that today’s educational systems do not focus on transferring knowledge from teachers to students, but rather on building well-rounded individuals who have the capacity to meet future challenges and problem-solve for themselves, then maybe, just maybe, it’s all about…you guessed it.


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