Ask the kids!

On my way to work yesterday, I listened to a NPR story about automobile makers turning to kids (elementary kids) for feedback on new car designs. Imagine the ideas a kindergartener would come up! Then, I just read about a multi-year innovation study Children’s Future Requests for Computers and the Internet conducted by Latitude which asked kids around the world to draw their answer to this question: “What would you like your computer or the Internet to do that it can’t do right now?” More than 200 kids, age 12 and under, from across the world responded to the question and came up with some remarkable ideas. (I’m not surprised, are you?) The three main themes that emerged are:

1. The digital vs. physical divide is fading.Kids think of technology as an extension of themselves. The distinction between “online” and “offline” is disappearing. I love this seven year old girl’s idea, “I’d like to touch the things that are in the screen – feel and move them.”

2. Computers becoming more human. Kids shared wanting to interact with robots and virtual friends/companions, relying on more intuitive methods of input and responsiveness. Think about how intuitive an iPad is for young children.

3. Technology can improve and empower us. Children envisioned technology that engaged with them, taught them something, or helped them make something.

Click here to see some of the students’ drawings – they are really great and powerful. And, click here to see an infographic that summarizes the results of the survey. The report also highlights the cultural differences, which are very interesting.

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