So we recently saw the folks who created a kid friendly browser, Zoodles, come out with a mobile version for Android. “Kids 2-8 to safely access the web” their tagline goes. I guess I am relatively unsure of the need for these ‘kid friendly’ apps. Years ago we had the Scholastic Keys program that sat atop Microsoft Office applications, giving fewer choices and a cartoonish menu bar. Then we came to the educationally-related search engines like Nettrekker. And now Zoodles. As a technologist in a school system, I definitely understand the entire safety issue, but I cannot help think profits may be further at the heart of some of these type things. I believe back a few years ago, I was sent a quote for Scholastic Keys (proprietary, of course) at about $2-3 per student. Nettrekker is the same. Zoodles is free, but I still wonder of the need.
We want to bring up our students with the goal of being problem solvers. The technology should not matter, and I agree that most will transition from one to the other easily. Although, why even spend time on these alternatives at all, slowing down the process. I would rather our students, and my own children, use the tools that the business world use, not some dumbed down version of them. Some can argue, and I do totally understand that and support their opinions. It may be right for them. For me, I would just rather they use the tools as created, becoming comfortable with their UIs, instead of learning other ones and then eventually needing to use the real ones. And of course, saving money from proprietary add-ons always earns points for me.