From: May Sarmac
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 18 Oct 1996
Remote Name: mingong-mac-11.ucsc.edu
Hilda, age 12; Brenda, age 5(?); Karina, age 5(?); Yenny, age 10; Marlin, age 5; Juan, age 12; Maurice, age 23-25(?)
On Wednesday, October 16, I was trying to help three girls at the same time, Hilda, Brenda and Karina. All three were working on the computer trying to find a game or activity to play. Since Hilda has had experience with computers, she was able to find a game on her own and she was able to start it up. Sitting right next to Hilda was Brenda and Karina who wanted to paint. Since Karina asked me for help first, I helped her open the painting file on the hard drive. Once we got the program going, she started to paint happily. Brenda then tugged on my shirt sleeve to let me know she needed help. When we found a program she wanted to play with, it turned out that she and I did not know how to use the program. Luckily, Hilda was running the same program so we asked her for help. Hilda was very helpful and cooperative by telling us in detail what to click when we wanted something specific and when we still didn't understand, she leaned over and moved the mouse to show us. After a while, Brenda got bored and wandered around the room. Karina also got bored with painting and played Lion King on the computer. Hilda sat with Karina and pointed where she should click and calrified instructions when Karina did not understand. When Brenda returned to the computer, I helped her search the games folder to find something for her to play. We tried almost every game in the folder until she found something she liked. While we were trying to find a game for her to play, she kept saying, "It's easy!" referring to the game. However, she had great difficulty getting through the first part of several games she called easy. When I offered suggestions as to what to do or describe what the objective of the game was she would say, "I know, wait... It's easy, I want another game." It seemed to me that she wanted a game that she could easily understand and win at. When the task or game seemed too difficult for her to succeed, she would just move on to another game. A game that she did seem to like was a memory block game. It's a game where the player had to match a pair of pictures together. At first she was a little hesitant about playing it. When she got the hang of it and got to type her name on the score board, she seemed to like it and as she continued to play, I could see that she was getting better. As Brenda kept palying, she was matching the pair of pictures quicker and with more ease. However, when I tried to help her spell her name for the scoreboard, again she kept saying, "Wait!". She insisted that she spelled her name right by spelling it B-r-e-n-b-a. I knew she didn't want to listen to me so, I let her spell her name that way. On Thursday, October 17, I was mainly helping Marlin. Occasionally, I helped Marlin's sister Yenny. Marlin and Yenny were also playing the memory block game. As Yenny kept playing, she too seemed to get better and faster at it. With each game of memory block, she tried to beat her own record. After a while, Yenny got tired of playing the game and wandered around the room. Marlin was playing the memory game as well, but she didn't play it as long as Yenny or Brenda did. Marlin wanted to play the Lion King, but had to wait in line because the only computer with a working CD Rom was being used by another child. I asked the other child if Marlin could play after him and he said yes. When it was Marlin's turn to paly Lion King, she turned around to call her sister to play with her. As Marlin's back was turned, Laura sat in front of the comouter and started playing Lion King. Marlin was shocked and upset and turned to me for help. I suggested to Lauran and Marlin to play Lion King together. Marlin agreed, but Laura wanted to play by herself. Marlin waited patiently for a long time. After a while, Marlin was getting annoyed because she had been waiting forever, but Laura still didn't want to let her play. I asked Maurice what to do, so he suggested to Laura that she either let Marlin play or that they play together. Still Laura refused. Then Marlin asked Laura if she could play next, but Laura wouldn't let her. After a very long wait, Marlin and I played Monopoly with Yenny. This seemned to cheer up Marlin. Rolling the dice and counting the play money helped Marlin learn how to count. Counting play money also helped Yenny use different denominations of cash, add and subtract. After Monopoly, Marlin finally got her hands on the Lion King CD. We walked over to Juan who had just finished playing a CD Rom game and asked if Marlin could play next. He said yes and got up so Marlin could sit in front of the computer. Since Juan sat next to Marlin, I asked him if he wanted to help Marlin get things started. So he did. Juan patiently pointed where Marlin should click and what to type in. They were just about to start the actual game when it was time to clean up and go home. But Marlin seemed to be happy that someone was willing to let her play Lion KIng and help her out with it, even though she didn't exactly get a chance to play.
I think it was really great that the older kids were so cooperative with the younger kids as well as the undergrads. I was really happy to see Brenda, Yenny and Marlin play a game long enough to get really good at it. Though I think Brenda kept saying a game was easy because she wanted to either impress me or because she didn't think the game was challenging enough.
I noticed these events because for the first time since we started going to Barrios Unidos, I actually got to see and assist in a child's progression. I also noticed these events because the older kids were wroking with the younger kids and myself to learn how to play new games on the computer.