Having grown up in and being a long-time resident of Silicon Valley I'm no stranger to the surge in mobile technology and how even newborns are learning how to interact with touchscreen devices. Without getting too deep into my own personal perspectives, I will say that from a developmental psychology perspective, it just seems much too early.
I'm partially biased, as I was brought up with regular time spent in the outdoors by parents who are nature enthusiasts. Because I quite literally grew up in a design studio, my first word was "paper" and my "toys" often included rulers and other art supplies. T.V. watching was limited. So with my background it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have mixed feelings about technology. My more optimistic self would like to think that it can work to the advantage of nature but I think many would agree that in many ways it's also counter-intuitive.
I have a feeling that in general digital technology is an ally to any route of education and it's something we should figure out how to best incorporate and integrate with our connection to the natural world. The question is how and to what extent? It's certain that it will continue become more and more a part of everyday life.
I've heard of some great ways that technology has become an effective tool for connecting and interacting with the natural world. There's geocaching and scavenger hunts but also we've come a long way in the realm of digital field guides too.
All in all it feels like something lost but also something gained.
What are the costs and benefits of involving technology in our children's (and our own) discovery of nature? Are the days of using a cumbersome (perhaps better described as coffee-stained, pages falling out, dog-eared) field guide gone?