Written by Alexa Erickson
With the advancement of technology comes new ways for us to learn and grow, but there is most definitely a downside as well.
We become much more tech-savvy at a young age, while risking leaving behind our ability to be patient, or even bored. We risk being innovative with our surroundings, being one with nature, and learning important life skills, for social, survival, domestic, and other aspects.
Whether in a restaurant, shopping at the mall, or relaxing at home, it’s hard not to find parents AND kids both on their phones, iPads, and other devices. Our digital age, with even news limited to 140 characters, and conversations that occur fully through the use of emojis, it is no wonder our attention spans have shortened.
In fact, one study by Microsoft Corporation discovered this digital lifestyle has made it hard for us to stay focused, so much so that the human attention span has shortened from 12 seconds to 8 seconds within only a decade.
The spark of gadget use has infiltrated our homes, work environments, and schools. As adults, we have the choice to not only change our habits, but our children’s too, to ensure they do not become another ADD or ADHD statistic, subject to prescriptions, allow their education to suffer, lose out on necessary human interaction, and learn the life skills that allow humans to flourish independently. Even more alarming is that screentime may be making kids moody, crazy, and lazy.
While it may not seem feasible to simply cut kids off cold turkey from what they already know, perhaps a better approach is to shift their interest by using the digital space they reside in. Putting more education into their gaming and screening may be what’s needed to offset the seemingly mindless activities many kids these days take on to pass the time.
The following options are a glimpse of the ways in which we can start changing our children’s lives for the better, while ensuring they take advantage of the continuous and incredible advancements in technology.
Root is a robot that kids and adults alike can use to draw, erase, play music, and explore its world. With more than 50 sensors and actuators, Root opens up the world of coding to many age groups and experience levels in an interactive way. The robot uses the magnetism of a whiteboard to drive on walls, making activities cooler, more fun, and more social.
In no time at all, Root can be used to create a maze or a racetrack layout, and then, in seconds, it can change its environment right back. Kids can even share their programs with others around the world, since whiteboard surfaces are the same everywhere. Root is also capable of working with paper if whiteboards are not an option.
The founders of Root set out to make coding accessible for learners of any age using everything from robots to apps to curricula to allow people to immediately make and share interactive coding lessons.
“We believe robots are the best way to engage in the journey of learning how digital stuff really works. Our promise is to make learning this way as easy as opening an app,” a statement on their website says.
Root is great for teachers as well, as it’s very easy to use in a classroom setting, and can be used to create fun games and coding challenges with their students. There’s even an app for Root that has both simple blocks as well as full-text coding languages.
Chrysalis is an astoundingly illustrated story for both kids of all ages as well as adults to learn more about and take advantage of power of meditation, mantras and mindfulness in a fun and engaging way.
With the constant amount of pressure to be on all the time, yet the growing concern of attention span issues, anxiety, depression and stress not just in adults, but in kids as well, this may be the perfect way to discover the beauty of self awareness, and the need to slow down and be mindful of what serves and doesn’t serve you.
The reader is encouraged to practice numerous relaxation techniques and emotional learning as they make their way through the book. The idea of finding inner peace can sometimes seem intimidating, especially for children, but this book does so in a unique, colourful, and passive way.
“The main narrative follows the story of a brave young warrior monkey tasked with protecting the all powerful violet lotus from the tyrannical Kunga, a power hungry gorilla who intends to use the power of the lotus to reign supreme over the kingdom of Soluta,” an overview of the book explains on their website. “On the surface the narrative offers up a colourful palette of characters, scenarios and interactions that drive the reader to the final showdown between the warrior monkey and gorilla. The stories subtext metaphorically visualizes the journey that each living soul must endure in order to harmonize each of its energy centers before experiencing ultimate enlightenment.”
The graphic novel will expand further, with plans to become a massive seven level open world experience, and even more MMO development down the line. The music in the game is even tuned to 528hz!
With these types of learning tools and games, children can explore themselves and their abilities without getting lost in the distractions available to them today.
Originally posted @ Collective Evolution