In the USA, the Sierra Club has an enviable reputation, built up over many decades, of encouraging people to

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Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet”. Is it odd, then, to find it approving of Apps that enable children to interact with nature, digitally?

Not necessarily. An article, posted last month, begins:

“Some of us remember when the pinnacle of childhood technology was having our own chunky Nokia to play snake, but these days, lots of kids have their own smartphone or iPad. Between playing on their personal gadgets, doing homework on a computer, and watching TV, they barely manage to step beyond wi-fi range, let alone get into the great outdoors. Luckily, a multitude of apps take advantage of kids’ screen addictions to pique their interest in nature.”

You can find all the details here including a list of these five favourites:

  • Audubon Owls
  • Meet the Insects: Forest Edition
  • MarcoPolo Ocean
  • Star Walk Kids, and
  • Nature Maestro: Rainforest Day

We are not against technology – far from it – and we recognise its crucial role these days in education, but we think that the test here is whether experiences such as these really do pique an interest in nature as opposed to, as Neil Postman put it, amusing children to death.

Does anyone know?

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