When I read the article, I instantly thought of the article from  the International Herald Tribune about digital reading and its impact on teenagers . Consequently, there was an intense debate among the scholars about the influence of digital reading on teenagers’ comprehension skills.

This article is just another episode of the struggle between old and new, which involves  technology.

But before I continue talking about the struggle, I would like to provide some background about a famous psychologist PIaget and his theory of cognition. Piaget is a psychologist who specialized in children’s development. He was one of  the first modern psychologists to highlight and clarify previously obscure field of child development. With his theory of Cognitive Development, many misunderstandings about children’s thinking were clarified.

The first stage of the Cognitive Development is sensori-motor(birth-2yrs) where a child recognizes self and object permanence.

The second stage is preoperational(2-7years) in which a child learns to represent objects by images or words but still can’t view the world from another person’s point of view. For example, when somebody asks a young boy if his sister has a brother, the boy would say no because he can’t view the world from his sister’s point of view.

The third stage is concrete operational(7-11 years); at this stage, children have learned the conservation of mass, weight, and numbers. They are starting think logically, but still has difficulties grasping abstract thoughts.

The fourth and final stage is formal operational(11 years and up) where children can think about abstract ideas and concepts.

Back to my response,  the article was interesting by combining both traditional values and modern ways to answer the question: when should children get the latest gadgets? Based on this article, it would be okay as long as the gadgets can accomdate the child’s development. It was also interesting for the article to provide so much information on what kind of gadgets parents should give to their children(even providing web addresses and prices). I believe this is another way of supporting the author’s argument that children can grow up with latest gadgets.

Even though latest technology can provide an opportunity for discovery necessary for children’s growth, I believe that gadgets are still not sufficient enough to help our children’s development. Gadgets somewhat limits children’s views since children can only experience the world beyond a screen. Also it limits children’s opportunities to fully explore their senses. Real toys allow them to experience what their senses-such as taste, touch, and hear- can do. The experience provided by toys or real world is 3D; but technlogy is somewhat 2D. To me, technology is still flat. It can’t provide the richness that nature provides or the discovery that real objects bring to children.

Still, it is important for babies in the 21st century to familiarize themselves with technology. However, I want to say that parents should not focus too much on letting children experience modern technology. There are still many values that cannot be ignored among traditional ways of fostering children. Thus, children should start to play with gadgets during or after preschool. We should at least give time for children to play in the traditional way- playing with toys or going outside- to stimulate their senses and muscles in the real world. How tragic would it be for a child to miss the joy of running around and playing with plants or even dirt.

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                Definitely, the controversies in the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony tell something about a common tendency among not only in China, but also in other Asian countries like Korea. Striving for perfection ultimately led Chinese to find a shortcut, which included lyp-synching and broadcasting a prepared CG clip of the foot-shaped fireworks.

                 Well, one thing I know for sure is that this phenomenon is not rare in  Asia. For example, the January SAT Test in Korea occurred mostly due to Korea’s pressure for perfection. Because so many students were pressured to get perfect SAT scores, they had to choose to use the shortcut- cheating.

               Then, what do these occurrences tell about Asia? How would the foreigners view Asians? Unfortuantely for Chinese, the cost of striving for perfection was something even bigger and more difficult to solve: credibility.  Like Chinese, it seems that credibility of Asians are going to deteriorate in the western countries if these stories about dishonest conducts keep coming up. It not only ruins the enjoyment that people felt about the Opening Ceremony(including myself), but it also hurts the future of the international relationships between western countries and Asian countries.

                 Am I just picking on Asians for not being honest? No, certainly other Western people like the members of the Manilli Vanilli would cheat, but I see this pattern among Asians that consistently drives them to use the shortcut: strive for perfection. More often Asians are obsessed with this notion of obtaining perfection. They seem to think that even one minor flaw would ruin the whole thing. If many Asians would start to focus less on being perfect, then I believe that we would not have problems like the one that occurred in the Beijing Olympics Ceremony.

 

As I was reading through the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday morning, I read an article about reading in 21st century. It was about a heated debate on whether digital reading was effective or not. Digital reading includes reading digital materials like blog posts, websites, or scanned books. While the opponents of the digital reading claim that lack of reading books has caused the decline of verbal scores among teenagers, advocates of the digital reading argue that reading websites and blog posts  allowed the readers to read diverse amounts of texts in shorter period of time.

After reading this article, I felt that I was neither for nor against the digital reading. I have experienced what lack of reading books can do to me as I realized that my SAT verbal scores were very low. By reading more books over the summer, I was able to increase the scores. However, I also experienced what digital reading can do; as I surf through websites, I quickly gain more information by reading website articles. In addition, by surfing through websites, I was able to increase my reading speed.

Just like issues such as nature vs. nurture, I believe that by reading both books and websites, one can achieve two things: increased verbal skills and diverse perspectives. Yet, I also realize that for teenagers in 21st century, it is harder for them to choose to read books. Digital reading provides more options that intrigues their interests. Certainly, there will be books that will interest them, but I think those books can’t hold their interests for long because teenagers would have to spend more time reading those.