In 1980's: Adult guidance was needed, children could do only right or wrong, practicing.
Early 1990's: Technological development, children could work independently, opportunities for children to research and innovation, opportunity to develop higher processing and learning skills, open-ended programs.
Late 1990's: Multimedia, communication, from closed to open environment.
Early 21st century: IT is no longer just a tool, it is a means of psychological, social and environmental change. Mediaculture develops with new tools, which develops new tools. Children take part in developing working habits and ways to see and take part in the new culture.
How do you research empirically new things when they don't exist yet? You can't use existing criterions for nonexisting reality. Only adaptation can fit in predefined action. In this research we have a hypothesis that children have a tendency to participate and to take part in changing social and IT environment. Children are agents of change.
In this research three independent meters were used:
The research was conducted in November and December 2000. 26 of the children were boys, 24 were girls, from three kindergartens. Youngest child was two years eleven months, oldest was six years eleven months (mean 5 years eleven months, standard deviation 9,3 months).
If the parents were worried that IT action causes exclusion from other activities for the child:
=> Child's general tendency to exclude from mutual process manifests itself also in exclusion from IT development.
If the students evaluated that the children had good skills with the computer:
=> A child skilled with computer tends to use and push the limits of the computer more and be less socially exclusive and adaptive.
Those who are in the centre, participating in the development of their social and IT work, are apt to stay in the front line of development.
Those who fall of from cultural change, become aligned and exclusive. Exclusive child learns to exclude, not participate.
Implications to education: Maybe it is more important to be in an participative environment than in an environment that teaches existing (although maybe new and accurate) knowledge.
Maybe the experience and habit of taking part in cultural change gives the child better tools to succeed in a rapidly changing culture. Maybe the experience and habit of relying on existing cultural phenomenon gives the child better tools to succeed in a more stabile culture.
In the changing culture, the role of IT is not only using the tool, it is also about developing the tool.