A is for Amazon: Learning the language of the Web as a child.

August 13, 2007 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

All this talk of Social Networks and everything “Web 2.0” now gives rise to the idea of “Web 3”. Surely we need to get everyone used to the idea of a people-driven internet, and not confuse them any more than we have to. If we want the Web to be owned, developed, and managed by the people, for the people, we need to introduce children to the e-world as young as possible, even while they’re beginning to learn to talk and play, so that the terminology and language of the Web, becomes part of their everyday language. It’s been reported many times that letting children learn a second language along side their native tongue at a very early age will make it easier for them to speak that language well later in their life. Also, children are taught music using the Suzuki method at a very early age. We should therefore let young children gain access to the web as as early as possible in their development and let words like “Youtube” and “Google” become part of their vocabulary. Not only will that help them in school, but it will fill the e-skills gap that governments and employers are so afraid might develop.

My young lad, who’s only 3, has been watching me and the rest of the family going on the internet at home, when we’ve been on Google and loads of other websites over the last few months. Over that time, he’s taught himself to load Firefox (double-clicking the icon), get on to Youtube (by typing “y” in the address bar), and selects and adds videos from and to his own playlist. He’s mad on fires and even typed in the word “fire” in the search box all by himself. He can get himself onto Google Images, and knows where the bookmarks are on Firefox so he can get himself onto other sites. He knows how to go backwards and forwards in a web browser. Obviously he doesn’t go on the computer unsupervised, but he’s aware of things that we may consider unsuitable – if he comes across a video on Youtube that we’ve previously said isn’t suitable for him, he’ll say that he’s not allowed on it until he’s older. Alongside “A is for Apple”, he’s learning that “A” is also for “Amazon” and that you can buy books on the internet as well as in shops.

Although a lot of people who are involved in e-learning at the college I work at say that our intake of students are IT-literate and demand access to online resources, I believe that we’re only going to get a true Web 2 or 3 or whatever by allowing the e-world to become a part of our children’s world. It’s no good waiting for them to get their half an our a week computer time when they’re in school – it’s too late by then. They’ll be playing catch-up for the rest of their lives.

Entry filed under: amazon, children, college, computer, google, teachers, technology, Uncategorized, world, youtube.

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