I agree 100% that technology is only as effective as the people using it. In context of education, the instructor’s ability to make any technology a more immersive, interactive experience is beneficial.
Are we using technology in a child-centered way? Yes, I believe so. A few examples: we have a product called Osmo that uses an ipad camera to visually recognize physical shapes, movements of the payer, letter cards, and more – thereby bridging the gap between one-dimensional technology and the three-dimensional world. Another example is an interactive projector we have. The projector can track motion and execute commands simultaneously as it projects images and videos. One of the kid’s favorite apps is one called Kaleido, where 2 players can actively manipulate a canvas to create gorgeous, mirrored images – much like a kaleidoscope would.
We are certainly guilty of letting our kids just play on ipads though. We save that time for “free time” and try to limit their app choices to minecraft, brain-teasers, spanish language, and puzzle apps.
I really like the idea of using the blocks to cast a shadow on the projector screen and some of the other ideas presented here. I certainly could do a better job of making student interactions with technology more divergent.