A is for Apps. B is for Books. C is for Conversation.
Want to figure your interest payment on a used car? Want to keep track of your bicycle route? Want to find friends on a Saturday night? There’s an App for each of those.
Consider the calculator App on our phones. Tap in a math problem and we get an answer. No insight needed into what the calculator does when it figures a square root (thank goodness!). It just works. A wonderful resource!
Probably 99 percent of the content on the Internet is created for capable readers. It’s a solid match for anyone who is literate and curious. People use the Internet to answer all sorts of questions, explore ideas and learn about the world in specific ways. It’s fabulous!
Books are quite a different enterprise from Apps. Books can launch us into totally new ways of thinking and teach us lessons that last a lifetime. When we read a new Book by a favorite author, in a favorite genre or with compelling content, it releases its magic, uniquely full of promise and opportunity for each individual reader. When children are drawn into the magical world of a picture Book, they will return to it again and again. How cool!
Simple Conversation injects humanity into whatever we are doing. So, the full value of an App or a Book is only realized when we share and discuss that which we experience through them with others. Conversation compounds and activates the benefits of the effort we put into using an App or reading a Book and the benefit we receive. In Conversation, we add our perspectives. We become additional sources of information and inspiration for each other. Conversation provides a rich, third dimension to our learning experiences.
As Simple as A+B+C
Despite the inarguable value of Apps and Books to the advancement of our culture and commerce, there are those who warn about the social and intellectual isolation that can negatively affect children who dive too deep into those time-sinks. Instead of playing take-away with those activities, a more productive response is, “Let’s talk about it.”
It’s Conversation that magnifies what children experience with an App or a Book. Children are trying to figure out the world and the people who inhabit it, and Apps and Books can provide them with insights into everything and everybody on the planet and beyond. However, it’s Conversation about either or both of those that ties a loving bow around those experiences.
Technology is great and reading is essential, but we must lead children to engage with others to maximize the value of any otherwise isolated experience.