“Where are the computers in your neighborhood?” isn’t really a question most two and three year olds would ask, many of us have a computer, laptop, or iPad in our house. Elmo however, was on a quest for technology and I liked that they did not make the assumption that there might be a computer in the home: he was offered the library computers and the school computers. Even in this age of technology, not everyone has access to things like the internet or HBO and Sesame Street offers an alternative source to something that many take for granted within their home.
First Elmo crosses the path of the librarian, a puppet who is more than happy to show Elmo the computers in the library. She shows him where the computers are and then tells him it has a screen and keyboard. The librarian offers to turn it on for Elmo, which says to children that adult supervision required for using these public computers. A connection between computers and learning is established because children associate things that require the help of adults with being beyond their current capacity. Such challenges often inspire a hopefulness that they will one day achieve such grown-up things themselves. The boy who shows Elmo the school computers demonstrates clicking the mouse and mentions that playing games on the computer is an option, too. Schools are obvious centers for learning to children, so pointing out computers in school aids children to quickly establish a connection between computers and knowledge.
I did not notice a connection between computers and literacy though. The children who watch Sesame Street are learning their alphabet, letters, shapes, and colors and are not likely to know what a keyboard is for, what an icon is, or why everyone laughed when the librarian said computers are ENTERtaining. The computer screens in the show displayed first a geometric smiling face, similar to the icon of a popular reading program in elementary schools, and the second displayed colorful shapes. No one mentioned what you can use a computer for other than games. Though it was brief and relatively uninformative I feel it was a good place to start the introduction of computers to children.