Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Smarter Toys, Smarter Tots?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Forget online learning: this is where the big money is. "Parents spend $2.8 billion per year on educational toys for infants and preschoolers," according to this article (probably citing U.S.-only figures). But the gist of this story is that these toys will not deliver the educational improvement their marketers promise. "The boom," writes the author, "is based more on wishful thinking than hard evidence." Well maybe, but this article doesn't provide the hard evidence to prove it. Relying mostly on arguments from Ranny Levy, president and founder of KIDS FIRST!, the article stresses that online media, such as classical media CDs, cannot replace personal attention, because "Babies learn through multiple senses being rewarded simultaneously." Well, quite so, and it's true that an attentive person can provide such stimulation, but it doesn't follow that only a person can provide such stimulation. The author overlooks this little logical faux pas and descends into caricature. "Flashcards for an infant?" Yeah, right. Bad journalist, bad.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Apr 20, 2024 7:08 p.m.

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