I've been thinking a lot about technology and its benefits. I'm noticing a few things. One, which I'm sure many of us see, is engagement. Regardless of the task (writing, reading, browsing, etc.) the children are engaged. Another is typing ability. Last year, as well as this year, I'm seeing the more the children are on the computer the better their typing skills get. I am also seeing an increase in patience. Anyone who uses technology on a regular basis knows the frustration technical difficulties can create. Now experience that as an 8-year-old. Their ability to wait until an issue is resolved has dramatically increased. Which brings me to the next two benefits. Their ability and likelihood to request and provide peer assistance is at practically 100%! Finally, problem- solving. When there are glitches they are more likely to try to resolve it on their own. And, the skills that are being applied while problem- solving are numerous: asking critical questions, tapping schema, synthesizing, and inferring. Not to mention the social skills: cooperation (working together to resolve), assertion (asking for help), responsibility (making sure that your attempts are related to your present expertise so that the tech is not compromised), empathy (understanding how fruatrated a classmate is by the glitch), and self-control (it's tempting to be a crazy clicker).
Could any of these benefits occur with other materials? Sure. But I doubt all at once. And aren't all of the things occurring between children what their future employers are requesting?