What do you think Montessori would say about Technology if she was alive today ? Would she condemn it, as being overly commercialised and abstract? Or would she embrace it, recommending the purchase of iPads in all of her schools?
We think she’d see the issue in the same way she saw the role of the teacher, using the same criteria she used to choose and design materials.
Apps would be merely a new kind of material for her. Some apps are supportive of a young child… others are less so.
We think she’d be extremely excited about multi-touch on the larger iPad screen, and she’d love the concept of how you can use the Internet to deliver content to a child, at any time. After all, she was a scientist/MD, who embraced new technology. She’d like way the Wii gets children moving around, and be curious about additional applications for the accelerometer.
She’d be the first to give a young child a digital camera to capture representations of his or her world, and would be on the front edge of exploring how to tap the power of the touch screen to help children acquire language and logic abilities.
We think she’d be very excited by apps that self-level, and that give children instant feedback on their finger swipes.
She also wanted her students to be active participants in the future, and it is clear that she understood that her students would grow up in a world different than the present time, having lived in the time of Marconi and having personally witnessing the effects of many medical breakthroughs.
But she’d view the issue as the scientist she was. This new stuff should be studied, and implemented carefully — in a way that is customized to each individual child.
Would she be concerned?
We’re quite certain that Montessori would have a lot to say about the downsides of technology; most principally the abstract nature of most glass screens. She’d be highly critical of the amount of didactic media (one way, non-interactive) or time that a young, modern child spends with in structured settings like classrooms with rows of seats, or in front of a screen with nothing but abstract symbols, and she’d be very quick to remind today’s parents and teachers that young children learn best when actively engaged in some way. The more real, the more meaningful, the better chance the learning sticks.
She’d be horrified at the amount of time children spend with low quality, didactic teaching (and media), especially where there is some sort of marketing angle going on; worrying loudly about the morals of a society that would attempt to manipulate a child for financial gain (think about the many games that offer in app purchases).
As for Dr. Maria Montessori, herself? we think she would be all over today’s tech presenting lectures and streaming information everywhere. She was a pioneer 100 years ago and she would be today. In fact, here we are now, using IT experiences to share Montessori’s vision for children and their families