Touch vs. Play-Doh

playdoh2Is more research about the benefits of young learners touching screens needed? The tactile feedback young learners get from old favorites like Play-Doh seems so obvious. And aren’t the mosaic patterns left in the carpet by its users a beautiful reminder that kids played, laughed, and learned nearby? While touch screens don’t have texture, there are levels of learning depth children reach—as they travel and advance. The laugh and chatter meters would most likely be similar as well.

playdoh1There should be no competition between Play-Doh and digital touch screen devices for what’s best for a young child’s brain. The key is that each is different. Getting into a discussion about whether Play-Doh or touch screens are better can only reach the same and inevitable outcome—both, and more learning modalities are necessary today. Children touching screens and doing the things that Play-Doh can’t do is the digital magic we want kids to experience. And squishing, pounding, and making fake mustaches and beautiful rainbows with Play-Doh are also the magic kids need to feel, explore, and share. It isn’t, as in most of education, an either/or.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
One Comment
  • Cameron
    9 August 2013 at 1:25 am -

    “And,” that’s the power word in this story. Kids need diverse experience at every age and stage. Turns out making polymer gels is just as fun as being lost in Minecraft.