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Japan Preschools ­sing Tablets to Prep Tots for Digital Age

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Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press file Children work on a digital program at Coby Preschool in Yoshikawa, Japan.

Some kindergartens and nursery schools in Japan are using smartphone software applications on tablet computers to enable preschoolers to have "digital play."

Credit: Yuri Kageyama/Associated Press

Almost 400 kindergartens and nursery schools in Japan are employing smartphone software applications in conjunction with tablet computers to enable "digital play" among preschoolers.

The KitS apps allow children to color animated birds and flowers as three-dimensional computer graphics; users also draw various creatures that, when captured as computer images, swim or float within virtual landscapes.

The goal is to foster creativity, focus, and leadership skills seen as essential to the digital era.

The University of Tokyo's Yuhei Yamauchi envisions practical advantages to this approach, because by the time today's preschoolers enter the workforce, computer skills are expected to be basic professional requirements.

Moreover, Yamauchi says in view of Japan's shrinking populace, people may work into their 80s and change jobs several times, which will make digital skills increasingly vital.

From Associated Press
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