4 year olds know

May 1, 2008

Saw Clay Shirkey’s talk from 2.0 Expo… love the part about the 4 year old. “4 year olds know that a screen that ships without a mouse, ships broken…. media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t INCLUDE you may not be worth sitting still through.” The positivism behind this statement, this idea, the hope really, that we can work against stagnation and embrace activism, on the small things as well as the big, is a message worth really paying attention to. Today kids know different: Not better. Not worse. Different.

And so often that is not the conversation, especially in schools. Instead, so often we approach this topic with a deficit perspective… we talk about kids knowing more/better… being ‘wired’ when we are/ school is not. And the reality is that they know different. It is the combination… their wisdom AND ours that leads to new thinking, new work to be done. This is not commonly the topic, when actually, it IS the conversation. Thinking about all of this, it hit me: It is not about ‘we need to meet them where they are’ or ‘we need to teach them how to be more like us.’ We need to recognize what they, and we, bring to the table and not target but include. Everybody. In the conversation.

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