Sunday, December 23, 2007

Intimacy with Digital Tools and Toys

Have you experienced people interacting with ICT tools in a way that suggests that the person thought the machine was “alive” or had an “emotional state”?
I must admit that I have kept a tamagotchi before. It was a dog. Anyway, I fed it, played with it etc and generally thought that it was ‘alive’. I really didn’t want it to die - but it did after I lost interest. If you want to try having a virtual pet you can put a virtual pet on your blog. Here is the link My students love virtual pets and have put many on their blogs. I use them as motivation to go online and also it helps kids to understand how to copy and paste HTML into their blog.
I have also played with a Furby before. A friend had one and kept it in her classroom. It was so real. It spoke in Furby language which her class soon learnt. The Furby would suddenly speak and demand his tummy to be rubbed or to be fed with a spoon. It was quite spoilt as the Grade 6 were very willing to take care of it.
How might these changes impact on the way these tools can be used in learning? I think that it’s very interesting to have these kinds of toys and they could be used in certain inquiries but having done class work in the past with live animals I much prefer the real thing. The machine as real as they might seem are simply that - just a machine.