Saturday, 11 February 2012

Morris Lessmore and the Techno Toddler

It's not like my life is short on technology, at work I operate machines that cost more than our house, and my communications with my husband are roughly 80% virtual on week days, but I have been slightly hankering after an ipad for a while and after hearing a few people say they were great for small kids I eventually cracked / used that excuse to justify it to myself.

My beloved new toy arrived on a Mummy day whilst E was napping and I had just about enough time to set it up (and bitterly regret my long email address after typing it in about 50 times - should have kept the maiden name) before she woke up.

So how long does it take a 2 1/2 year old girl to get the hang of an ipad?

Well, within about ten minutes she'd made an aquarium picture and skyped Granny and Grandad. So not long.




There are a bewildering number of apps available for kids on the ipad, and almost as many online reviews of them - not really knowing which complete strangers advice to take I decided to turn to real life, actual people - through the mediums of facebook and twitter of course. Friends (and a few complete strangers) came up with a decent sized list and I'm now working through trying them out with E.

If I get time I'll pop back to review them here once E has had a good play. But I'll start with the current favourite:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore,

This is basically a children's story book, about a man who comes to live in a magical library.  There are a few lines of text and a picture on each page, but the pictures are animated and on every page there is something you can touch or try out - there are no instructions but it's easy enough to guess what you should do, touch the glowing books to make them flutter or quote famous lines or follow the red piano keys to play "pop goes the weasel" I'd initially wondered if it would be a bit much for E at only 2 1/2 but she sat in wide eyed amazement for the whole thing and was happy to let me do the more complicated puzzles for her. Her howls of despair when we finished it were all the review I needed!



I think I am a little bit in love with this App. Although it is undoubtedly rather twee, it has the feel of old movies and the good old fashioned romance of actual books. That belief that having a room full of paper volumes is  the key to a contended, knowledgeable existence, that books themselves have a little bit of a soul. I am not alone in having hoarded books with a similar sentimentality. But this ebook made me wonder:

Perhaps mine is the last generation that will think like this?

There is clearly still a place for paper children's story books but when E is my age will she have boxes of paper backs stored in my attic? Or a shelf full of A- level and University text books? I got a kindle for my birthday and now prefer to read novels and the like on that, and interactive, moving diagrams in text book apps might not only be cheaper and more portable then their real-life counterparts, they could actually be better, yeah, better than a book.

I still feel a bit bad saying that though, shh, you mustn't say bad things about books! I guess we'll have to wait end see, let's give it until techno-toddler is techno-teen.

Kxxx

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