As a parent of two young children, I’ve been fascinated to watch how kids learn about the world and how their understanding of technology evolves. When my older son was about two, he’d pick up a remote control and try to talk on it like a telephone. In his mind, any oblong plastic box with buttons on one side must be a telephone—it’s easy to see how he might make that mistake. Within a couple of months, he understood that a remote control is different—it’s the thing we point at the TV to make it play his favorite shows. But then he became confused and frustrated when we handed him a toy remote control that only made noise when he pressed the buttons; he couldn’t understand why the TV wouldn’t respond.

We expect kids to make these ...

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