Do Kids Even Color With REAL Crayons Anymore?
I know that my job is to coach teachers to weave digital content into their lessons and to think forward to blended learning and online learning, but where are the crayons?? I walked into a 1st grade classroom the other day and saw something like this:
Part of me what excited by the seemless use of technology and the way the teacher had integrated the app into the content of the lesson. The girl was extending the story from the small group and would add her picture to another project. All in all, a great use of the technology.
However, there was another part of me that wanted to know where the crayons were. No, the REAL crayons and paper. The ones that kids used to eat and had the distinctive smell. Those crayons. Now, there were crayons in the room. I could tell by the artwork on the walls that the kids had used them. But how often?
The question here is, “Does it matter?” Hmmm.
From a pedagogy standpoint, I suppose it doesn’t. Standards about setting, sequencing and comprehension don’t state that one form of showing understanding is better than another, but I wonder.
Next question, “Why do kids color?” Well, I suppose to have fun, but I found some interesting articles related to this.
To summarize these articles, coloring books are not bad – unless they’re overused to keep kids quiet and entertained. Kids learn fine motor skills, creativity (although staying in the lines is questionable), color mixing, spatial understanding and more. Can the same be learned by coloring on a tablet as with paper and crayon?
Back to the artwork on the walls. There is something nostalgic about hanging a kids artwork on the wall, refrigerator or door. It just means something – at least to me. I grew up with these things. Today, kids are just as likely to take a picture with mom or dad’s phone and keep it in an electronic album and then show all their art work at once. Maybe even on a Facebook page belonging to their parents. Is this any better or worse than hanging the same picture on the refrigerator?
Times are changing and as much as I want to change, I want to hold onto the past too. Below is a picture of kids coloring the old fashioned way. Which looks better to you? The top picture or the bottom? I can’t decide!